This STAR TREK: LOWER DECKS review contains spoilers.
Trying to catch all the references and Easter eggs in any given episode of Star Trek: Lower Decks is a little like trying to count all the times Spock does anything with his eyebrows in The Original Series. It’s possible, but even when you think you’ve spotted everything, the second you blink, he raises his eyebrow again.
In the sixth episode of Lower Decks, there aren’t any references to Spock raising his eyebrow, but there are plenty of eyebrow-raising Easter eggs. Here’s everything we spotted, from holodeck characters to retro-23rd century designs, and one shout-out to the greatest helmsman in Starfleet history.
Ambient Warp Drive Noises Are the Best White Noise
For years, Trekkie superfans have pointed out that the soothing, ambient noise of the Enterprise-D is a sonic genre of white noise in it of itself. Several white noise simulators exist online to help you recreate this noise, while a few fans have tried to create devoted YouTube channels to the various different “ship sounds.” The person who designed all these sounds, and recorded them (often using heavily modulated freezer sound recordings) was Jim Wolvington. From TNG through Enterprise, nearly all ‘90s sound design was overseen or created by Wolvington. In this Lower Decks scene, the gang tries to create the sounds of the Enterprise-D and Voyager.
How the Lower Deck-ers would know what Voyager sounds like at warp is somewhat questionable, considering the ship was missing in the Delta Quadrant for most of their careers. Maybe they visited one of Barclay’s holographic reconstructions?
An Antares-type ship from TOS
The ancient Starfleet wreckage in this episode features a ship with the registry NCC-502. In the TOS episode “Charlie X,” the ship Antares was retroactively given the registry number NCC-501. This designation and starship design is also based on ships seen in The Animated Series episode “More Tribbles, More Troubles.”
Lower Decks makes its second joke about the fact that most people on Starfleet ships probably use waterless “sonic showers.” The sonic showers were first glimpsed in Star Trek: The Motion Picture, but we’ve almost never seen anyone use them. Because water can apparently be replicated, we’ll never really know why 24th Century starships still used the sonic kind. Either way, Dr. T’’ana has a point, using sound vibrations to get cheese out of fur sounds like a drag.
Boimler has something in common with Jean-Luc Picard
When Fletcher and Boimler joke about their Academy days, we learn that Nassicans tried to eat Boimler’s heart at one point. This references the TNG episode “Tapestry,” in which Nassicans stabbed Jean-Luc Picard through the heart, right after he’d graduated from Starfleet Academy.
Tendi references the classic era of TOS when she says that among the old Starfleet wreckage, she hopes to find “ the original communicators, you know the clamshell design?” When Dax traveled back in time to the 23rd Century in “Trials and Tribble-ations,” she talked about an old tricorder having “classic, 23rd Century design.” Even in Star Trek, people are fans of the design aesthetic of TOS.
Wy can’t they just beam all the wreckage?
Because there’s so much space junk to clean-up, Tendi wonders why they can’t just beam-up the debris using the cargo transporter. In TNG, we saw the cargo transporter in episodes like “Datalore,” but we rarely saw it used in a salvage operation. Rutherford tells her “that stuff’s too massive” to be beamed by the cargo transporter, which could answer a very old fan question: Why can’t starships beam other starships to other locations? Apparently, size is an issue.
All your favorite holodeck parties
Before taking Tendi to the holodeck, Rutherford points out that the Holodeck is not just for fun, and then lists a bunch of ways people have used the Holodeck for fun. As he says, “The Holodeck is not just for hanging with..” and then Rutherford drops a litany of characters who have appeared in Trek, occasionally on the holodeck, but not always. Here’s the list of characters and which episode they appeared.
Sherlock Holmes: Data played Sherlock Holmes in the TNG holodeck episodes “Elementary My Dear Data,” and “Ship in a Bottle.” A holographic version of Sherlock Holmes was never seen in these episodes.
Robin Hood: This seems to reference the TNG episode “Q-Pid” in which Picard is put into the guise of Robin Hood by “Q.” This was a weird alternate dimension simulation, but it wasn’t on the holodeck.
Sigmund Freud: In the TNG episode “Phantasms,” Data took advice from a holographic version of Simgun Freud.
Cyrano De Bergerac: Cyrano De Bergerac does not appear as a holodeck character in Star Trek, however, holodeck addict Reginald Barclay was playing the role of Cyrano for one of Beverly Crusher’s theatrical productions in the episode “The Nth Degree.” In that episode, Barclay later merged his brain with the ship’s computer, which, of course, led to him becoming terrible. The larger plot of “Terminal Provocations,” at least for Fletcher, is pretty much the same.
Einstein and Stephen Hawking: Data played poker with holographic versions of Einstein, Stephen Hawking, and Isaac Newton in the TNG episode “Descent Part 1.” Stephen Hawking played himself.
Leonardo da Vinci: On Voyager, Janeway frequently hung out in a holographic reconstruction of DaVinci’s workshop. The Voyager hologram of Leonardo da Vinci was played by John Rhys-Davies.
Socrates: The Greek philosopher Socrates was also mentioned in the episode “The Nth Degree,” mostly because Cyrano claims to have met him. But, in the Voyager episode “The Darkling,” the holographic doctor created a hologram version of Socrates who played Kal-toh (or Vulcan chess) against the Vulcan T’Pau. We most recently saw a Kal-toh game set in the season finale of Star Trek: Picard.
It’s been previously established that the USS Cerritos seems to be on a four-shift duty rotation. This was an idea first introduced in “Chain of Command,” where Captain Jellico temporarily ordered the USS Enterprise on a four-shift rotation instead of three. Delta Shift is, presumably, the night shift.
When Tendi and Rutherford enter the training program, the shipwide failures cause the holodeck safeties to be disabled. This concept goes back to the first season of TNG, in which the holodeck safeties were disabled in the episode “The Big Goodbye.” Arguably, even before that though, in the episode “11001001” an upgraded holodeck was used as a trap to lure Captain Picard and Commander Riker away from the bridge.
Load Bajorian Marketplace
Tendi and Rutherford are briefly in a holodeck recreation of a Bajoran marketplace on the planet Bajor. Though it’s not clear which province or city they’re in, it’s definitely not one of the bigger cities. Despite the fact that the space station Deep Space Nine was originally in orbit of Bajor, we didn’t get down to the planet all that much.
Evasive pattern Sulu alpha
When the Cerritos is in trouble, it’s time for some evasive maneuvers. Naturally, saying “Evasive pattern Sulu alpha,” references the flight controller (or helmsman) of the USS Enterprise NCC-1701, Hikaru Sulu.
Fletcher hooking his brain up to the computer
If it’s not obvious by now, the plot of “Terminal Provocations” is mostly lifted from “The Nth Degree,” insofar as Fletcher hooking his brain into a computer is similar to what Barcarly did in TNG. That said, aspects of the AI monster in this episode are vaguely reminiscent of other rogue AI hybrids, including Nomad from the TOS episode “The Changeling,” and naturally, V’Ger from Star Trek: The Motion Picture.
Transfer to the Titan
Fletcher is sent to the USS Titan at the end of this episode. This means the person who “fired” him from his job is almost certainly Captain William T. Riker. In 2280, Riker has been the captain of the Titan for probably less than a year. We know Will and Deanna went to the Titan after Star Trek: Nemesis but we never actually saw what they did there. It’s also a good bet, that at this point in time, Riker is an expectant father.
Considering that Ron Docent’s secret password in the previous Lower Decks episode was “Riker,” it feels very possible that we could be getting a Number One cameo very soon. Or, at least, we can hope!
Star Trek: Lower Decks airs new episodes on Thursdays on CBS All Access.