We have already recapped and reviewed Star Trek: Lower Decks season 3 episode 10, “The Stars At Night,” and discussed it on the All Access Star Trek podcast. As noted in our reviews, the episode was a celebration of Lower Decks’ own lore and canon with many callbacks, but there were of course more connections to legacy Star Trek and beyond and so now we take a deep dive to look at those other connections.
[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 Ultimate Texan
The season finale had the Cerritos fighting off the rogue AI in control of Admiral Buenamigo’s Texas-class ships starting with the USS Aledo. Star Trek has a long history of AIs going bad, going back to the Star Trek: The Original Series episode “The Ultimate Computer,” when the M-5 multitronic unit was installed on the USS Enterprise and it went haywire, kicking off a wave of destruction. Beunamigo’s interface for the USS Aledo was a match for the M-5. In the end, Captain Kirk was able to talk M-5 into self-destructing, but when Captain Freeman asked “Is there something I can say to trap those AI in a logic spiral?” Rutherford (who designed the AI) said he “safeguarded against paradoxes.”
The season finale revealed that Admiral Les Buenamigo was behind a nefarious plot, adding him to a long list of Star Trek “badmirals.” Freeman actually called him out on this, imploring Beunamigo as “not one of those bad faith admirals that’s up to no good, you are better than this, Les,” but he made it clear he wasn’t any better, saying “I’m really not.” Beunamigo was part of a conspiracy that went back to when he worked with others to steal Rutherford’s AI plans and erase his memory. But the admiral’s gruesome death at the end of the Aledo’s phaser was reminiscent of the end of another conspiracy from the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “Conspiracy,”
As the department heads prepped their divisions for the big race with the Aledo, Commander Billups told his engineers he wanted “Galaxy-class engineering,” referring to the Galaxy-class ships introduced in Star Trek: The Next Generation, like the USS Enterprise-D. Billups added: “I want to see Commander Data-level work, people. Those isolinear chips better be a blur.” This refers to the scene in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “The Naked Now” when Commander Data has to rapidly replace a bank of isolinear chips in engineering to reengage the engines to save the ship.
Ride that sickbay
Dr. T’Ana was also issuing orders in sickbay and to ensure total obedience used her riding crop. This appears to be a reference to Captain Styles who commanded Excelsior in Star Trek III, and carried a swagger stick. This is also a reference to the season two season finale of Lower Decks, when Mariner was concerned about getting a new commanding officer saying, “We could end up with some weirdo with a riding crop.”
Command that chair
Ransom’s contribution to prepping the ship was to brief the command staff on the proper way to sit in a chair, demonstrating the Riker chair maneuver, Commander William Riker’s unique way of getting in and out of chairs. Ransom instructed: “Cross your leg over the back of it and slam down. Command that chair!”
Command that table
Speaking of commanding furniture, the Starfleet Command meeting where Buenamigo faced off with Freeman featured the same table (and lamps) along with shot angles and lighting as Starfleet Command from Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, when Spock made his briefing early in the film.
Shaxs’ line up
This episode saw Shaxs finally get his greatest wish, to eject the warp core. This was a big moment for him and his journey from the bridge to engineering had the corridors lined with the crew showing him the respect he deserved. This was reminiscent of the Voyager episode “Homestead,” when Neelix left the ship for the last time, with the crew lining the corridors to show their respect.
While the Cerritos gang was racing the USS Aledo, Mariner had her own adventure after leaving Starfleet to join the Space Archeologist Petra Aberdeen. We first see Mariner recovering an idol from some Ferengi and being chased in a scene taken right out of Raiders of the Lost Ark, with Mariner holding a Klingon version of the classic movie’s Chachapoyan Fertility Idol. A version of this idol was also seen in Dax’s quarters in the Deep Space Nine episode “Dax.”
The episode also revealed that Jean-Luc Picard was supporting the Archaeology Guild with a “huge endowment” with Petra noting “That guy loves mummies even more than you.” On Star Trek: The Next Generation, it was established that Picard had an interest in archaeology going back to his time at the academy. In the TNG episode “The Chase” Picard revealed he once considered pursuing a career in archeology. Picard’s interest in space archeology continued into the 25th century, including coming into the possession of a Bajoran tablet, as seen at his Chateau in the Picard episode “The Star Gazer.”
Locations, locations, locations
In addition to visiting Douglas Station and Starfleet Command, the season finale referenced a number of deeper cut locations. The idol that Mariner retrieved was to be returned to the Qualor Historical Museum on Qualor III. The Qualor System has been mentioned many times in the franchise and the USS Enterprise-D visited Qualor II in the TNG episode “Unification.” Lower Decks also visited Qualor II in the episode “We’ll Always Have Tom Paris.” That previous Lower Decks episode also established that Qualor is known for their Slushies and Petra told Mariner she would get her two Slushies on her way back from the museum.
The three destinations in the Cerritos/Aledo race also had connections. The first was at Glardon, from the series premiere of Lower Decks. The second stop was to the lifeless planet LT-358, with a similar naming style used in the Alien franchise like the planet from the first movie LV-426. And the final stop was to Ockmenic 9, described as a “Brigadoon type” planet that only phases into regular space periodically, which is like the planet Meridian from the DS9 episode “Meridian.”
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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