Preview “In the Cradle of Vexilon” With First Images From ‘Star Trek: Lower Decks’ Episode 403

This week, Star Trek: Lower Decks continues the new fourth season with the third episode (after two were released last week). We have details and the first images.

“In the Cradle of Vexilon”

The third episode of season 4 is called “In the Cradle of Vexilon.” The episode was written by Ben Waller and directed by Brandon Williams. It arrives on Paramount+ on Thursday, September 14


Boimler leads his first away mission on an alien megastructure.

New images:

L-R Eugene Cordero as Rutherford. Tawny Newsome as Beckett Mariner and Noel Wells as Tendi (Paramount+)

Dawnn Lewis as Captain Carol Freeman and Jerry O’Connell as Commander Ransom (Paramount+)

Dawnn Lewis as Captain Carol Freeman and Jerry O’Connell as Commander Jack Ransom (Paramount+)

Tawny Newsome as Beckett Mariner and Noel Wells as Tendi (Paramount+)

Dawnn Lewis as Captain Carol Freeman (Paramount+)

Eugene Cordero as Rutherford, Tawny Newsome as Beckett Mariner and Noel Wells as Tendi (Paramount+)

Gabrielle Ruiz as T’Lyn and Jack Quaid as Brad Boimler (Paramount+)

Jack Quaid on Boimler leading first mission as a lieutenant

Ahead of the season (in interviews recorded ahead of the SAG-AFTRA strike) the cast talked about their new promotions including Jack Quaid (Boimler) who appears to have referenced this episode in his comment:

I love that the Lower Deckers got promoted. Boimler has his first away mission that he is leading, and he is nervous, to say the least. He doesn’t want anyone to get hurt. He eventually must learn to trust his friends and trust the process.

Season trailer

Season 4 debuted on Paramount+ on Thursday, September 7. Check out the latest trailer…

[region-free version on]

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I wonder if it’ll be Armin Shimerman reprising his role as the head in a box.

That would be nostalgic, definitely.

Definitely nostalgic! Fans will hate it lol

Given clues in the trailers. It’s the episode that references Move Along Home. Fans are definitely going to hate it.

Oh absolutely!

Some people spent years crying out for the franchise to return to the so called glory days of the Berman era- and when the producers listened and gave us LDS and Picard S3- they STILL weren’t happy.

Sadly true. I been hard on NuTrek for sure but Picard season 3 and LDS has been a return to form for me. I think it’s been good Berman Trek again and while not perfect still good stuff overall.


every time new Trek does something nostalgic? Not enough alcohol in the world.

Drink again!

Pointing out a 60 year old TV franchise is nostalgic is as insightful as pointing out wrestling is fake.

TNG and DS9 didn’t rely on nostalgia every two seconds. Nor did Voyager or Enterprise. They are shows that stand on their own two feet.

The franchise was half as old back then. And those shows were known to engage in nostalgia.

There is a slight difference between engage vs wallow – but this is a show that is meant to wallow.

Except those shows usually saved their nostalgia for event episodes. Hey look, it’s Sarek, it’s Scotty, it’s Spock, it’s Sisko in the Mirror Universe, etc. Less is more.

In seven years, TNG gave us exactly two examples of this kind of nostalgia: “Relics” and a 30-second cameo by Bones McCoy, the latter in the pilot episode as a way of passing the torch. (Even there, they didn’t even identify his character as anything other than “a special admiral,” let alone putting out commemorative McCoy plates or have the crew break out into a sea shanty about him.)

*Maybe* add a third example: “The Naked Now” had a throwaway reference to Kirk commanding the original Enterprise, and PIcard & Co. encountering a physical phenomenon that the former also faced — but Picard delivered that line stated in a way that implied Kirk was relatively unfamiliar to the new crew, and certainly not a world-historical figure. The writers were basically looking for a way to get the entire TNG crew intoxicated, and went with a TOS McGuffin.

I suppose you could add “Sarek” and “Unification” to that list. Personally, I’d disagree, because those episodes both challenged the characters of Spock and Sarek dramatically, indeed giving the latter Vulcan Alzheimer’s and then killing him off poignantly. Aside from mind-meld musing about how much Sarek loved Amanda and Spock, but how he regretted he couldn’t share that love, there were few direct references to TOS in those series. The characters had grown and changed.

Still, even if you include those last two examples, that’s three nostalgic episodes, one scene, and one line, all out of 178. It would take NuTrek about five seconds to cover that much territory.

No one is objecting to a smidge of nostalgia where it’s appropriate. It’s the steady diet of nothing but that is the telltale sign of a creatively bankrupt franchise.

There are things about Picard season 3 where I understand this reasoning, but when nostalgia services an interesting new story or character development, then it’s a legitimate tool.

I really don’t think this way of thinking can be applied too liberally to Lower Decks though. This show is entirely rooted in referencing, with equal parts reverence and playful teasing, 57 years of Star Trek lore and tropes. We’ve never had a show like this before, and the way it packs in jokes and fanboy nostalgia at warp speed while also developing original stories and characters is fiercely unique. Within that premise we can argue there are things that don’t have enough follow through, like “Twovix,” especially a central plot which avoids any POV beyond parroting the Internet debate about Janeway’s actions.

But overall it’s a disservice to these writers to say they aren’t being creative enough just because they make nostalgic references, Easter eggs and jokes. The way they do it is fresh and unique, and lesser minds wouldn’t be able to spin them as well as these artists do.

Enterprise’s entire fourth season was built on nostalgia.

And not very well imo, though at the time I certainly appreciated what Manny Coto was trying to do. Certainly, the show should tied itself much closer to TOS from the beginning. But even the Vulcan trilogy written by the incomparable Reese-Stevensons just wasn’t very good.

Stumbled on their feet, rather, in the case of Voyager or Enterprise. As to nostalgia, did you happen to catch any of the latter’s fourth season?

Was that the point when Star Trek crossed the line into being more of a directly-marketed nostalgia based property than not? Well, I suppose it was a gradual slide from about Wrath of Khan onward, but I do remember Enterprise season 4 and the JJ Abrams movie a few years later being around the time I started to notice it, that Trek was more about its own past than anything else.

I am one who also supports new characters and wants new storylines. However, after S3 Picard, it has made me realize how much I miss the Bermanverse and do want to see those guys again. I like how Terry, Mike, and the Hagemann Brothers do it. They honor the legacy but bring in something new and fresh at the same time.

Exactly! I am happy to see the Bermanverse back since for me Star Trek was TNG, DS9 and VOY. So it’s great to have shows like LDS, PRO and PIC season 3 carry on in that tradition and tone. McMahan, Terry and everyone working on Prodigy just gets it. They really do.

And it’s more nice they are post Nemesis shows. I like ENT and SNW a lot but Star Trek is about going forward to a lot of us 90s fans and want to see that continue.

The Legacy show would be perfect. 😎

I look forward to this. Maybe Caspar Kelly will watch it and learn how Star Trek humor works.

Ooh. I wonder what this one is about. All I know is that from clues in the trailer, this might be the episode with the Move Along Home reference.

This is also one of the ones that might have agimus so I’m definitely paying close attention.

Speaking of agimus! I discovered over the weekend that the animation studio makes their own LD merchandise. They have agimus merchandise too so I know what I’m getting myself when I can!

I don’t think Agimus is in this one because he would probably be advertised. Maybe I’m wrong but like you I’m super excited to see him again.

Every season review I read said he’s in an episode but never said which one so I’m just being left to guess. It’s either this one or the 7th one.

I hear you. And could be this one, but I suspect whatever episode he shows up in will be directly about him like Peanut Hamper’s episode was last season.

Lower Decks is just a fantastic show and this season started off strong.

This is what I would’ve loved to have after Voyager ended instead of Enterprise, JJ verse and Discovery.

Just fun characters, great stories, laugh out loud moments and pushing Trek into the future again. And it does what I love most about Trek and has so much ♥️.

Keep doing what you’re doing McMahan. This show is on fire.