Recap/Review: ‘Star Trek: Lower Decks’ Mixes Things Up For Season 4 Premiere “Twovix”


Star Trek: Lower Decks Season 4, Episode 1 – Debuted Thursday, September 7, 2023
Written by Mike McMahan
Directed by Barry J. Kelly, Jason Zurek

NOTE: Paramount+ released two episodes on the same day, check out our recap/review of episode 402

The animated comedy roars back and it’s funnier than ever. The eggs, references, and deep cuts fill the episode, but what makes it great is the heart of these characters, including a new welcome addition.

There is coffee in that space station

WARNING: Spoilers below!


“It’s Voyager, s#!t got freaky.”

Things start out as usual with our lower deckers griping about assignments, Mariner hopes their secret mission to the Portelo system isn’t about annoying Romulan spy stuff and Boimler is stuck cleaning out the holodeck again. New crewmember T’Lyn is not helping, telling the ensign his “odor will be repulsive.” With hands full of unspeakable goo, Boimler gets big news from Ransom: He could be on the list of promotions being handed out later that day. Upon arrival at the mysterious station, Captain Freeman is informed her mission is to escort a ship to Earth—but not any ship, the freakin’ USS Voyager. Cue the theme! Mariner allows herself just a moment of Boimler-like excitement before recovering. Onboard the storied ship, work is being finalized on turning it into a museum, complete with mannequins of the famed crew and their “mission-worn uniforms.” The overbearing curator Beljo Tweekle demands the visiting Cerritos crew not touch anything, but Rutherford can’t help but check out the bio-neural gel packs, talking about the time they got infected with Neelix cheese. T’Lyn isn’t as impressed, declaring the Voyager is “outdated and smells like Borg” as she and Tendi take some exhibits back to the Cerritos. A petal from a familiar-looking orchid gets loose from its bio-warning canister and floats to the transporter room just as Billips and Dr. T’Ana beam out. However, the Cerritos transporter reads only one lifeform beaming in, and it’s both of them, now merged into one. “Captain, we have a problem.” You think?

After another Shaxs and T’Ana session, so much cat hair

“I’m sure Janeway had a solution to this.”

After learning the same thing once happened on the Voyager, Captain Freeman is sure she can handle things on her own; she just needs to see Captain Janeway’s log for the original solution. The Cerritos warps off to the rendezvous at Earth and the captain gets a briefing in sickbay on what is now being called “Getting Tuvixed.” The merged person wants to be called T’Illups, thinks they are “cool as f**k,” and loves being alive. Tendi is sympathetic, since T’Illups didn’t ask to be created, but T’Lyn warns against socializing with “the organism.” Freeman is shocked to learn that Janeway “straight-up murdered” the original Tuvix and decides since she isn’t stuck in the Delta Quadrant, she can just take them to Earth and let Starfleet sort it out. Unfortunately, T’Illups also read Janeway’s log and decides not to take any chances. They take Dr. Migleemo hostage, but that’s just a ruse to lure Captain Freeman into their quarters so they can use more orchid petals to Tuvix her and the ornithoid ship’s counselor into “Captain Doctor Migleeman.” And they’re not done, demanding “more scrumptious senior staff.” As T’Lyn and Tendi debate the ethics of Janeway’s Tuvix decision in the bar, a Shaxs/Barnes hybrid barges in to nab Honus the bartender and merge him with Lundy, creating “Lundus.” In the transporter room, T’Illups makes more soldiers for their ”hybrid army,” even though not every combo is perfect: They admit Swhalens (a mix of Steve Stevens and Matt the Whale) was not their best work. Tendi and T’Lyn know they must stop this, T’lyn takes over the system, beaming all the hybrids to the brig. The Vulcan declared Starfleet systems “easy” to circumvent, but her “fix” merges all the hybrids into what Tendi charitably calls a “big Tuvixy meatball.” Gross.

If you murder him you will become a meme

“These are VOY’s deepest cuts.”

Back on Voyager, Boimler seems distracted, uncharacteristically not fanboying out over everything around him. Things get more tense when Mariner accidentally finds one last macrovirus and it gets loose. The curator is elated  and demands they capture it as it tries to infect poor Brad. Ransom orders Boimler to keep it on the bridge and is disappointed when it replicates and escapes into a corridor where it activates the holodeck system, randomly initiating holograms of Doctor Chaotica, The Clown, and (surprisingly) Michael Sullivan, with the safety protocols set to “random.” Thanks to emitters now installed throughout the museum ship. the holos start hunting down the Cerritos team—and Mariner has to admit, Sullivan is a charmer. After one of Seven’s old Borg alcoves gets knocked over, it releases a leftover Borg nanite that supersizes and assimilates the macrovirus. The Borgified macrovirus creates multiple copies of the Clown, Chaotica, and Sullivan to restrain the crew. Boimler is now the only one not pinned to the wall with macroslime, but when he tries to free Mariner, she tells him he doesn’t need her. Brad admits he has had an off day because he’s freaked out about the possible promotion and his guilt over not having Mariner’s back when she was sent to Starbase 80 last season. She says it’s all good and reveals she was the one who recommended Ransom promote him. Buoyed by her support, Brad leaves to save the day, but he’d better hurry because Voyager is heading into Borg space under the command of an assimilated robot salamander. Yeah, you read that right.

Why did it have to be clowns?

“It feels like a kooky Voyager solution…”

In astrometrics, Boimler ignores an angry Ransom demanding to be freed, and grabs Rutherford instead, because he needs an engineer to break the ship. Sam has an idea! They sneak onto the bridge, where Brad is attacked by a Chaotica who demands last words, but Brad buys time by channeling his inner ham, declaring himself the son of Captain Proton and adding a cackling laugh. The distraction works, and the holo-baddies phase out thanks to Rutherford’s clever use of Neelix’s neural gel pack-infecting cheese. Even with the big mess, the curator is thankful and happy to add a new display for Voyager’s story featuring Boimler and Rutherford, which we see after it’s cleaned up for display on Earth. Tendi and T’Lyn also used the power of teamwork to solve their Tuvix-meatball problem with an assist from a scanner that (ironically) T’Illups modified, that allowed them to isolate the different personalities within the blob.

With everyone back in their own bodies, Captain Freeman is happy to get to that promotion ceremony where Boimler, Tendi, and T’Lyn are all made lieutenants, junior grade. Mariner is ready to celebrate with her friends until she is shocked to get a new pip too—which Ransom refuses to take back, vowing to be the first commander to not promote and then demote her. As things should, the action ends in the bar. The always affable Rutherford is okay being the only one left out of the promotions and Brad assures Beckett that even as Lt. JGs, they are still lower deckers who have to do “all the grunt work with none of the perks.” That’s enough to get her standing up and leading the chant. Lower Decks! Lower Decks! Together they are all happy to start “new jobs and no mysterious threats to get in the way.”  So, um….

This makes seeing that blob thing nightmare all worth it

“They are serving eyes or hearts or something.”

This episode isn’t over yet! We find ourselves somewhere in Klingon space on the same Bird of Prey from “wej Duj,” with Klingon lower deckers G’reck and Key’lor debating the honor of spear combat and plotting against their former colleague Ma’ah, who they think lucked his way into the captain’s chair. On the bridge, Captain Ma’ah responds to an alert of an unknown ship (a mysterious threat, if you will) not responding to hails. At first it seems inert, so he decides there is no honor in attacking. Then the mystery ship powers up and targets the Klingons, who are incapable of responding as suddenly all of their systems are down. The mystery ship fires a single powerful beam that destroys them, leaving nothing but debris. Pour out some blood wine for the crew of the crew of the IKS Che’Ta’.

Spears are cool!


Welcome back

“Twovix” is everything you want from a Lower Decks episode. First and foremost, it was hilarious. It was chock full of Star Trek gags and references, in this case almost entirely linked to Voyager. The love for that series was evident throughout the episode with much Delta Quadrant fun to be had, but you need not be a hardcore fan or even fully familiar with that show to enjoy this episode, because the story and the humor also came from the characters that have been so carefully developed over three seasons. The Voyager craziness was really just the fun backdrop to the emotional story of Boimler and Mariner; the season 3 finale wrapped up Mariner’s exit and reentry into Starfleet a bit too neatly in the final minutes and these two still had stuff to work through. Both of their promotions set up each of these characters for new arcs for season 4. The same could be said for Tendi and the welcome addition of T’Lyn, the Vulcan officer from the fan-favorite season 2 episode “wej Duj.” Gabriella Ruiz delivered a subtle, wry performance as she learned what it’s like to be friends with the hurricane of emotions, Tendi. This dynamic promises to be a big fun part of season 4. The solution to their hilarious crisis was also spot-on in reinforcing this key theme. While the pacing on this show is almost always tight, the way things bounced between the two ship’s stories was especially seamless, thanks to meticulous directing and editing. And beyond the gags, the writing was as tight as ever, such as the keys to both stories’ solutions embedded in early jokes (Neelix’s cheese in a display on Deck 7 and T’Illups upgrading a medical scanner).

Regarding that crisis on the Cerritos, “Twovix” went delightfully meta as it took on what is still one of the most debated episodes of the franchise, Voyager’s “Tuvix,” and Captain Janeway’s decision, as noted by Mariner, to straight-up murder Tuvix. But Lower Decks didn’t exactly just weigh in on the Janeway = murderer side of that debate, they turned “Tuvixing” into a verb, and took things to a dark place with the resulting moral dilemma of the bridge officer meatball thing that had even Tendi seeing things a different way. As with the original Voyager episode, the character T’Illups was a unique blend of the two source characters. Paul Scheer’s performance nailed the humor as he went from loving his new life to fearing for it. Unfortunately, as a half-hour show, we didn’t get much time with some of the other Tuvixed hybrids, especially Captain Doctor Migleeman, but it’s clear the Lower Decks creatives want to play along with the eternal Tuvix debate by trying to settle it. Things also got a bit meta with the treatment of the USS Voyager itself with the curator, delightfully played by Andy Richter, as a proxy for obsessive fans as he fussed over keeping the ship pristine but then admitted to making some modifications like the holo-emitters. Collectors and those who like to debate canon are sure to see some echoes here as McMahan and his team are play along with us, but never punch down.

She doesn’t show it, but T’Lyn loves being our new bestie.

Beyond the main four characters, others had their moments, with Ransom being a standout. He could easily have devolved into a meathead punchline foil to the lower deckers, but instead, he is shown to be an effective commander who sees something special in these young crew members and is willing to help them succeed. Plus, he has learned some Tamarian. After three years, it makes sense to let these characters grow and evolve instead of resetting them (à la The Simpsons), so promotions for season 4 seem right. The key will be to make good on the promise at the end of the episode to keep them within the spirit of lower decks even as they move up the ranks.

Season 4 also has a new serialized storyline; however it is being kept at a distance, essentially playing in the background. It was fun to return to the Klingon ship from “wej Duj,” albeit briefly. While this mystery ship storyline will be important to the season, hopefully it is mostly handled like it was in this episode, giving us fun moments but also not bogging the show down and away from the episodic style that has worked so well.

The Curator panics over actually forgetting the coffee.

Final thoughts

A promising start to the fourth season with a hilarious episode that sets up new arcs for our characters and a new ongoing story to slow burn in the background.

Ransom considers which officers he would Tuvix


Random stuff

  • Stardate 58724.3. BTW, the season 3 finale ended at 58499.2.
  • In honor of this being the fourth season, the whale probe from Star Trek IV was added to the opening credits.
  • Billups had a childhood dragon named Fiddlesticks.
  • Mariner refers to “that thing with Pike we aren’t supposed to be talking about,” referring to the recent crossover episode of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds.
  • In the episode “We’ll Always Have Tom Paris,” Boimler first revealed he referred to Voyager as “Voy” to save time.
  • Mariner tells Boimler, “This is why we can’t keep secrets, one of us always ends up covered in slime,” calling back to the series premiere when Boimler got slimed by a space spider.
  • The curator’s name Beljo Tweekle is likely a reference to Bjo Trimble, who spearheaded Star Trek’s first fan campaign back in the 1960s.
  • The curator said everyone got inoculated “years ago,” implying after the USS Voyager returned, all of Starfleet was inoculated against the Delta Quadrant macroviruses, which explains why no one got sick.
  • Ransom spoke Tamarian, saying “Shaka, when the walls fell” (failure), with Kayshon replying “Sokath, his eyes uncovered” (understanding).
  • T’Lyn’s bar order: Water, room temperature.
  • As a transfer from the Vulcan fleet, T’Lyn is technically a “provisional” lieutenant, junior grade. She has provisional rank insignia similar to those seen on the Maquis crew on the USS Voyager.

This isn’t the kind of genuine Voyager collectible I was hoping for.

Easter egg analysis and more to come

Check back for our full weekly deep dive into the easter eggs and references, with this week obviously having a big focus on all the Voyager nods. And every Friday, the All Access Star Trek Podcast covers the latest news in the Star Trek Universe. The podcast is available on Apple PodcastsSpotifyPocket CastsStitcher and is part of the TrekMovie Podcast Network.

But can he see in color?

New episodes of Star Trek: Lower Decks premiere on Thursdays, streaming on Paramount+ in the U.S., Canada, Latin America, and Europe. It will stream on Paramount+ in S. Korea later in the year. Lower Decks also airs on Thursdays in Canada on CTV Sci-Fi Channel.

Keep up with all the news and reviews from the new Star Trek Universe on TV at

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Beljo Tweekle = Bjo Trimble?

That’s what I thought.

Ok so the first episode of S4 was alright. Imo i found the episode to be rushed like the writers wanted to stick as many Voyager Easter Eggs as possible and it made the episodes pacing a bit too chaotic(a). Not much else to say about this episode other then i am looking forward to seeing who/what attacked the Klingons i just hope it’s not the Pakleds again.

The DS9 episode was pretty terrible for that same reason. Cramming too much nostalgia and references at the expense of the plot. Lower Decks is at its best when it charts its own course, not leeches off of past Trek every 5 seconds.

The whole point of lower decks is nostalgia… 4 seasons in and you haven’t picked up on that

Then why have original characters and original plots?

That episode was? The only thing that wasn’t there to serve as part of the plot was the reference to Meridian which I was fine with because it was a reference to the b plot specifically. The one that Jeffrey Combs made his Trek debut in.

Bruh it did more to tell us about how the gamma quadrant is after the Dominion war than literally anything else.

I think the DS9 episode was better. It had more of a plot and focused more on the Lower Decks characters. The entire plot of this one was basically just the attack of the Voyager easter eggs.

I can’t argue with that. Still fun and affectionate, but not much substance beyond the promotions.

Still impressed they reanimated all those pips for the promos.

The love for that series was evident throughout the episode” – we may have a different definition of love. Hitting low-hanging Voyager trope fruit (salamanders, neural packs, clowns, etc..) and saying, ‘look how much they love the show!!’ doesn’t really ring true, for the same reason that I don’t think Big Bang Theory is funny, it’s condescending, not smart, and having characters hold a Hawking book or talk about a math problem or play Catan doesn’t mean the people writing the show love nerds, they just know those are things nerds like. Same with this – rather than actually seeming to enjoy Voyager, it’s more like a greatest hits of ‘remember how Voyager was crap?’

Look – I like Lower Decks and think it can be funny and the SNW crossover was great – but it would be nice if reviews could sound less like they were written by Paramount Marketing AI

Thanks for totally nailing it. Good analogy with BBT. I watched the episode and I actually feel dumber for having watched it.

And the award for most absurd comment in this thread goes to…

 it would be nice if reviews could sound less like they were written by Paramount Marketing AI

sigh…I’m commenting that the reviews are often breathlessly, hyperbolically positive. Not that I think they are *actually* composed by AI or a Paramount staffer, just that they often read more like shill piece summaries to keep the access flowing. And as I said – I like Lower Decks, but you’d think it would stand the test of time next to <insert greatest comedy here> the way the reviews are often written.

Apologies if that seems absurd to you *eyeroll*

Trek is Trek….

LOVED LOVE LOVED this! I couldn’t stop giggling during these episodes, especially “Twovix”. The only thing missing was a Voyager cameo of some sort, but I figure Prodigy might have limited those possibilities.

More nostalgia. More references. More easter eggs and cameos from back when Trek used to be good.

Maybe, but a lot of people like it, so what’s your point?

Easy win with fans, at the expense of good writing. I also suspect Picard S3 and all these nostalgia fuelled recent Trek will age terribly. It’s fun in the moment, but in ten years?

In 10 years the people who enjoy it now will likely still be enjoying it, new Trek fans will still be discovering it and enjoying it, and people like you will still be complaining about it.

Survivorship bias

Trek is still very good. Other than Discovery, all the other shows have been excellent.

It’s the opposite for me all the other shows and Discovery are great it’s SNW that for me fails to live up to quality of the other shows and doesn’t feel Trek enough to me.

Can we please stop treating nostalgia as a dirty word? The refrains of it being a criticism are getting as tired as they portend all the Easter eggs and callbacks are.

used to be good? well, just good, maybe, but nor really good. some episodes do hurt me to watch. when the doctor hides in sevens implants. some do make me a bit angry, like tuvix, or sim for that matter on ent, cringy is one thing, but errors in judgement like killing a being just for the sake of others. thats plain wrong. even the die hard tng episode where picard and his saddle turn mcclain, where data just plain makes fun of that sociable commander, cringy.

Don’t want to start a debate here, but letting Tuvix live would have been a travesty. It wasn’t killing a being just for the sake of others. It was restoring the existence of two beings whose lives were taken from them when Tuvix was created. Tuvix’s life didn’t belong to him. It wasn’t his to claim. Did Tuvok and Neelix not deserve to live? The principle of taking a life to save others being questionable is sound, but blindly applying a morality judgement without considering the context is misguided. The world is not black and white.

I think the point was for Voyager itself to be the guest star in this episode, so it worked.

I hadn’t realized how sentimental I was about Voyager … until they played the theme music, and I got slightly choked up.

All the cast was in fine form today, though I really wish Rutherford hadn’t been left behind! And I think T’Lyn will be a great addition to LD, though since I basically always want a Vulcan character, I guess that’s not surprising. :-)

I must be part Vulcan, because I was with T’Lyn. :-) I’m one of the minority who thought Janeway did the right thing in “Tuvix.” Yes, Tuvix was a great guy, and it was sad that he had to go, but I thought he didn’t have the right to exist at the expense of two other lives.

If someone said they’d die unless they could kill Tuvok and Neelix and eat them, nobody would think it was okay for someone to kill and eat Tuvok and Neelix, yet that was essentially what Tuvix had done, unintentionally.

I don’t adore LD the way I adore SNW, but I’m always glad to see Star Trek. Welcome back, Lower Decks!

How do you know Talaxians are just as tasty as Kelpians?

“Yes, Tuvix was a great guy, and it was sad that he had to go, but I thought he didn’t have the right to exist at the expense of two other lives.”
That was a freak accident with the transporters; It’s not like Tuvix asked for it.

“If someone said they’d die unless they could kill Tuvok and Neelix and eat them, nobody would think it was okay for someone to kill and eat Tuvok and Neelix, yet that was essentially what Tuvix had done, unintentionally.”
No, that is not what happened. Stop laying responsibility on Tuvix.

they should have just Thomas Riker’ed Tuvix, then restored Nelix and Tuvok from the copy – everyone wins….except the Angier-esque copy I guess

I can see Janeway’s choice. Tuvix isn’t an innocent bystander being killed to save Tuvok and Neelix; Tuvix only exists because of the loss of Tuvok and Neelix, because he’s using their lives to exist. When they can get their lives back, Tuvix doesn’t have the right to keep them, even to save his own life.

she had no right to terminate the life of a sentient life form for her own needs

janeway betrayed her oath as a starfleet captain by pretty much killing an unarmed alien lifeform, as much as did ransom did to the aliens in ‘equinox’

How many lives could be saved by harvesting the organs of a single individual?

I appreciate the fact that Lower Decks acknowledged how the Tuvix situation ideally would have been dealt with,by having them go to Earth, implying to my mind by a court of law rather than a single officer. But also the extraordinary situation whereby Janeway had no such recourse and her most able adjudicator Tuvix/Tuvok was either conflicted out or unavailable.

Could T’Lyn’s order of room temperature water be a reference to Amy Farrah Foster’s first Big Bang Theory appearance, when she ordered tepid water?

I tend to doubt that.

I thought this was a really good start to the season overall. If I had one issue, it’s just that the Boimler/Mariner side of the story got *so* out-of-hand so quickly, and it felt like a bit too much happening at once. But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t love each of the references in its own way. I particularly loved when the macrovirus and the salamander babies became assimilated. And I thought the emotional payoff between Boimler and Mariner was really good.

Can’t wait for the rest of the season. I thought the 2nd episode was great as well, and I’m liking the build-up to the bigger story so far.

I love LD. And I love VOY. But I think this episode would have been better if they had cut it down to just Chaotica (I misspelled the name I think I’m sorry) for the Voyager parts of the episode and left the Cerritos parts as they were.

I know I’m talking about a dreaded legacy cameo but it would have been better if a VOY character had been assigned to go with them. Like Tom Paris showing up again. Him and Brad teaming up to defeat the loose hologram would have been actually fun.

Also imo when I watched the episode the first time, there were a couple of times I thought the curator was Ethan Phillips. That would have been better if it had been imo.


Great start as usual! All the Voyager callbacks made this fanboy smile wide as Voyager was my first show and ship. So it has even more meaning for me.

It’s been so long since this show has left the airwaves. Here is a video of me and my friends watching the final episode of Voyager all those years ago and the emotion it brought!


That was a tough night. But it’s great to see the ship back and all the callbacks to some of their crazier episodes. Seeing the ship in warp alone brought a tear to my eye.

Pretty bold storyline if these ship attacks are really killing all these characters. I really liked the Klingons from wej’Duj. We never see any bodies (possibly because that’s too grisly), so maybe still a chance the attacks are beaming out the crews first?

wej’Duj is probably my favorite episode of modern Trek, it really bummed me out at the end of the episode that they killed them off. I hope you’re right and they aren’t actually dead.

Wouldn’t Migleeman have known that Freeman was planning to have Starfleet find a non-murdering solution to the problem. Why didn’t he (she? they?) talk T’Illups out of his insane plan?

This episode did remind me that the vaunted bio-neural gel packs on Voyager were always a liability apart from in “Shattered” when they finally became the solution to a problem.