This Star Trek: Lower Decks article contains spoilers.
If anyone was on the fence as to whether or not the Lower Deckers in Star Trek: Lower Decks were also giant in-universe Star Trek fans, the latest episode, “Veritas,” will reveal the truth. Mariner, Rutherford, Tendi and Boimler know their Trek history better than most real life Trekkies. And to prove it, this episode has more Easter eggs and deep-cuts than (mabye) all the other episodes combined. From discussions about the hair styles of obsecure TNG characters, to some very big homages to a big seen in Star Trek VI, this episode packed in the references, and then decided to throw in a Gorn wedding.
Here are all of the Easter eggs and references we caught in Star Trek: Lower Decks, Episode 8, “Veritas.”
Klingon trial from The Undiscovered Country
Later in the episode, Rutherford describes the setting for the episode as “Alien trial 101.” He’s not wrong. From the elevating platform to the tall alcoves full of shouting aliens, everything about this setting — including the banging of the creepy gavel — is meant to remind us of Kirk and McCoy’s trial on the Klingon Homeworld in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. Granted, the gavel in The Undiscovered Country was not shaped like a skull, but the guy who banged it in that movie was wearing a metal claw.
The voice of Klarr
Kurtwood Smith plays the alien Klarr in this episode. Smith is famous to RoboCop fans as being the bad guy in RoboCop and famous to Star Trek fans as the guy who played the President of the United Federation of Planets in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. As the President, Kurtwood Smith is the guy who said Kirk and McCoy had to stand trial for the murder of Chancellor Gorkon.
Roga Danar versus Khan
Mariner and Boimler’s debate about “biggest badasses” is hilarious because everyone has heard of Khan, and only hardcore TNG fanatics have heard of Roga Danar. For most people, Roga Danar (played by Jeff McCarthy) is as Mariner says, “some dude nobody has heard of.” He appeared in the TNG Season 3 episode “The Hunted,” and briefly, did “outsmart” Picard, just as Boimler says.
Mariner’s defense of Khan echoes what Trekkies generally think; that he’s the best Trek villain ever, though obviously, nobody would pit Khan against Roga Danar! Mariner describes Khan as a “genetically engineered supervillain. Dude was a space seed!” Naturally, “Space Seed” is the TOS episode in which Khan first appears. Tendi’s reference to Khan’s “thick, thick chest’ is likely an allusion to the urban myth that Ricardo Montalbán wore a prosthetic chest while filming The Wrath of Khan. However, many sources (including director Nicholas Meyer) have repeatedly said that the “thick, thick chest” was all 100 percent Ricardo Montalbán.
Living on Earth
Mariner is super concerned about getting kicked off the ship and being forced to live on Earth “Where there’s nothing to do but drink wine and hang out at vintners and soul food restaurants.” This is a reference to both Captain Picard and Captain Sisko. In 2380, however, Jean-Luc Picard has not returned to his family’s vineyard full-time, The “soul food” references Sisko’s Creole Kitchen, a restaurant run Ben Sisko’s family and specifically operated by Ben’s father, Joseph Sisko. The restaurant first appeared in the DS9 episodes “Homefront” and “Paradise Lost.”
Picard’s family wine vineyard, made famous in “All Good Things…” and the series Star Trek: Picard, first appeared in the TNG episode “Family.”
Bug Captain Is Kenneth Mitchell
Star Trek: Discovery actor Kenneth Mitchell — who played the Klingons Kol, Kol’sha, and Tenavik— plays the voice of the insect-like Captain Seartave. In this same episode, Mitchell also plays a Federation guard and a Romulan guard.
Send them a message
When Captain Freeman tells Mariner to “send them a message” to the alien ship, Mariner fires the phasers right away. This could reference The Wrath of Khan when Khan says “explain it to them,” which means, he wants his lackeys to fire a photon torpedo.
“Denobulan flesh-eating bacteria”
Jax mentions a “Denobulan flesh-eating bacteria,” which references the Denobulans, a race of friendly aliens made famous by the prequel series Enterprise, specifically Dr. Phlox. Interestingly, Phlox did have a bunch of unorthodox treatments on the NX-01 Enterprise, which might have included weird fleshing-eating stuff.
Vulcan nerve pinch
Rutherford points out he doesn’t know how to do the Vulcan nerve pinch but managed to do it anyway. Non-Vulcans have done the Vulcan nerve pinch on several occasions. Picard did it in the TNG episode “Starship Mine,” Data did it “Unification,” and Michael Burnham did it in “The Vulcan Hello.” Most hilariously, McCoy tried to do a Vulcan nerve pinch in The Search For Spock, while Spock’s Katra (soul) was in his body.
During their covert mission to the planet Vulcan (presumably) Jax, Rutherford and Philips are flying a classic Vulcan shuttle. This is the same design of shuttle Spock took to hook-up with the Enterprise in Star Trek: The Motion Picture.
Famous starships in the museum
The museum where Jax, Rutherford, and Philips steal a Romulan Bird-of-Prey is packed with a ton of famous Star Trek ships, including:
- A Jem’Hadar fighter (Deep Space Nine)
- A Ferengi shuttle (TNG and DS9)
- A D-7 or K’Tinga class Klingon Battlecruiser (TMP, TOS, TNG, DS9, and, technically, Discovery)
- Several Federation shuttlecraft (Mostly TNG era)
- A classic TOS shuttlecraft
- The Vulcan landing ship from First Contact.
- A Tholian ship (“The Tholian Web,” “In a Mirror, Darkly.”)
- And…something that looks like the Monolith from 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Romulan Bird of Prey
The ship that is stolen, and later used by Ransom and Tendi, is a classic TOS-era Romulan Bird-of-Prey. Prior to this episode of Lower Decks this style of Romulan ship has only been seen in canon three other times: In the TOS episodes “Balance of Terror” and “The Enterprise Incident,” and in the Picard episode “Absolute Candor.” That said, the Bird-of-Prey in “The Enterprise Incident” was digitally inserted into the remastered “Enterprise Incident” in 2008. So, really, this ship has only appeared in canon in 1968, 2008, and twice in 2020.
Also voiced by Kenneth Mitchell, the Federation Guard has security armor and a helmet reminiscent of the kinds of outfits security guards wore in The Motion Picture, The Search For Spock, and The Undiscovered Country.
Jax tells Rutherford to “to a fan dance,” to distract the guard. This references Uhura doing a dance with feathery fans on Nimbus III in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. In that case, the fan dance only got Kirk and Spock some horses.
Does Philips know the TNG crew?
The chief engineer of the Cerritos, Billups, makes two references to TNG episodes when he’s running out of oxygen. He says “Mark Twain’s got a gun!” and “Tasha No! The garbage bag’s behind you!” The Twain thing references Mark Twain pulling a gun on the TNG crew in “Time’s Arrow.” And the Tasha comment seems to reference “Skin of Evil,” when a creature who you could call a “garbage bag” did kill Tasha Yar.
Does the Gorn wedding count as an Easter egg? Considering we’ve never seen this many Gorn (Gorns?) in one place, ever, this feels like yes, this counts as an Easter egg. Also, if the shuttle crashlanded during a Gorn wedding, does that mean they crashlanded on Cestus III, a planet the Gorn took over in the TOS episode “Arena?”
Romulan Bridge interior
Everything about the interior of the Romulan ship matches a TNG-era Romulan ship, which seems to reference, mostly, the TNG episode “Face of the Enemy,” in which Troi is kidnapped by Romulan agents, but also, made to work for them.
Covert Ops Starfleet Outfits (Again!)
This marks the second Lower Decks episode in a row that references the all-black bodystocking outfits from the TNG episode “Chain of Command.” And because Ransom wore one in “Much Ado About Boimler,” this is the second episode in a row that he’s been on an undercover mission.
“You know who I hate, Remans”
The Romulan guards are talking about how they hate “Remans” and that Remans are “the worst.” The Remans are an alien species who live in the same planetary system as the Romulans on the planet Remus. We never met the Remans until the 2002 film Star Trek: Nemesis. Although he was human, the Picard clone named Shinzon (Tom Hardy) considered himself a Reman. The events of Nemesis and the attempt for the Remans to take over the Romulan Empire happened just one year prior to Lower Decks, in the year 2379.
“Like whenever Q shows up”
John de Lancie voices “Q” in a flashback where he forces the crew of the Cerritos to play some kind of absurd chess game with playing cards and a soccer ball. Q is dressed in his judge’s robes from the TNG episodes “Encounter at Farpoint” and “All Good Things…” In the context of “Encounter at Farpoint,” this outfit is actually taken from Earth’s future history; at some point in the 21st century, several draconian courtrooms existed on Earth, in which the rulings were neither fair nor just. Q says “Do you think humanity is really worth saving?” which was basically his whole beef in “Encounter at Farpoint,” when he calls humanity “a savage, child race.” The ridiculous board game, in which the crew is turned into chess pieces could reference the DS9 episode “Move Along Home,” in which the crew has to act out certain moves that are reminiscent of a board game.
Salt Vampires… are… alive!
When Mariner tells Ransom that his date is a “salt vampire” the says that “salt vampires died out more than a century ago.” This references the very first aired TOS episode “The Man Trap,” which takes place in 2266, more than a century before Lower Decks. This is the second time the M-113 “Salt Vampire” creature has been referenced on Lower Decks, but the first time we’ve actually seen it in the flesh — sucker hands and all.
Dr. T’Ana has a “Remember Me” moment
When Dr. T’Ana says that nobody on the ship remembers her, this could reference the TNG episode “Remember Me,” in which Dr. Crusher enters a small bubble parallel universe in which people she knows, start to vanish from existence.
Boimler’s speech about what Starfleet officers “don’t know”
To prove that Starfleet officers are good people, but sometimes totally ignorant of what is going on in the galaxy, Boimlter rattles off several examples of Starfleet officers not knowing something that was utterly nuts.
- “Did Picard know about the Borg?” References the TNG episode “Q, Who?” in which Q forces the Enterprise to encounter the Borg. Picard may not have known about the Borg in 2365, but there’s some debate that some people in the Federation did. Seven of Nine’s parents knew about the Borg in the 2350s.
- Did Kirk now about that giant Spock on Phylos? This references an episode of The Animated Series called “The Infinite Vulcan.” The “giant Spock” was a huge Spock clone named “Spock 2.”
- Did Dr. Crusher know about that ghost in the lantern from the Scottish planet that she hooked up with that one time? This is from the TNG episode “Sub Rosa,” and yeah, Dr. Crusher hooked up with a ghost that lived in a lantern.
- “Drumhead!” Boimler’s mic-drop moment is the word “drumhead,” which references Picard giving a speech that ends a witch-hunt trial in the TNG episode “The Drumhead.” The “drumhead” itself, refers to the head of a drum that would be up-ended on a battlefield to serve as an ad hoc judge’s bench.
Q references Trelane!
When Q appears at the end of the episode, he says “I challenge you to a duel” to the Lower Deckers. This references the character of Trelane from the TOS episode “The Squire of Gothos.” Trelane was a being with powers that were basically exactly like Q, and later Trek novels like Q-Squared, made it clear that Trelane was a member of the Q-Continuum who had been cast aside. When Gene Roddenberry first created the character of Q, TNG writers were worried he’d be too similar to Trelane and fans wouldn’t accept it. These days, naturally Q, is much more famous that Trelane. And yes, Trelane did challenge Kirk to a duel in “The Squire of Gothos,” and Kirk accepted.
Q speaks French, talks about Picard
When Mariner says : “Get out of here Q! We’re not doing any of your Q bullshit” he says “S’il vous plaît Mariner!” This implies he knows Mariner pretty well, which is hilarious, but she tells him she’s not French and he should go bother Picard. Q says, “Picard is no fun!He’s always quoting Shakespeare, he’s always making wine.” Picard quoted Shakespeare to Q, specifcally Hamlet in the TNG episode “Hide and Q.” Mentioning that Picard is making wine at this point in time is interesting. We know that by 2385, Picard will leave Starfleet and go live on his vineyard in France. But, in 2380, Picard is still in Starfleet. Is he making wine on the Enterprise?
Star Trek: Lower Decks has two more episodes in season 1, which air on CBS All Access on Thursdays.