Star Trek: Lower Decks: wej Duj
October 7, 2021 8:02 AM - Season 2, Episode 9 - Subscribe

What If... Other Ships From Other Planets Had Lower Decks? I Mean, We Kind Of Knew That They Did, But Maybe Not "Lower Decks" Lower Decks, If You Catch My Drift

Memory Alpha's blood runs reddish-pink... or is it pinkish-red?:

- The title translates to "Three Ships", which is how it was originally listed on startrek.com . Technically, it's actually in pIqaD, the Klingon script; here's the ep's title card. Fun fact: there was apparently an effort to add pIqaD to Unicode, but the committee rejected it. Unicode has no honor!

- T'Lyn, that rebellious, impetuous, hot-headed (for a Vulcan) Vulcan, is being reassigned to a Starfleet vessel. Which vessel might that end up being, hmmm? Whiiiiiiiiiiich?

- Speaking of Vulcans, per the independence movement discussed in the TNG two-parter "Gambit" that was recently covered on the purple, it is... fascinating that Vulcan still apparently has its own fleet. (We see Vulcan vessels in TNG and DS9, but there's no real indication that they are part of an independent service.)

- T'Lyn's comment that "Logic is the beginning of wisdom, not the end" is a quote from Spock in Star Trek VI.
posted by Halloween Jack (31 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
 
D'oh! Memory Alpha
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:07 AM on October 7


Wait... this episode was written by Kathryn Lyn!? Ensign Mary Sue is that you?!
posted by yonega at 11:23 AM on October 7


Wesley is Gene Roddenberry's middle name.
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:30 AM on October 7 [1 favorite]


I hope the naming gag doesn't mean that T'Lyn won't become a regular character.
posted by yonega at 12:50 PM on October 7


Member worlds of the Federation having their own fleets is probably something like American States maintaining their own National Guard. And makes sense for pretty much the same reasons.

I hope T'Lyn either won't become a regular character or she's going to be handled like Mariner and the plan is "Here's all the awesome things she can do up front, now we're going to gradually reveal all the ways she's fucked in the head". Although from a Vulcan perspective they did that latter part already.

Is it just me or does Borg Lower Decks seem like the best one? Also, It makes me wonder if the Borg ever rotate their cubes, or if there's a normal orientation.
posted by Grimgrin at 3:49 PM on October 7 [6 favorites]


The borg part got funnier the longer nothing happened. It's what some of those Family Guy gags aspire to.
posted by Marticus at 4:31 PM on October 7 [12 favorites]


I imagine the Vulcan fleet is the Vulcan Expeditionary Group, the branch of the Vulcan Science Academy that you try out for if you're a Vulcan who wants, er, finds it logical to be stationed aboard a starship. Serving in Starfleet is for those freaky human-lovers descended from Solkar.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 4:40 PM on October 7 [1 favorite]


I absolutely loved the way they went LOOMING BORG CUBE UH OHHHHHH and then absolutely nothing happened for the duration of the credits
posted by DoctorFedora at 6:58 PM on October 7 [7 favorites]


This was a lot of fun. I was grinning from ear to ear from the moment I realized what they were doing with the episode.

It’s fun to watch them explore the medium - there’s no way anything other than an animated show would have jammed scenes from 5 (five!!) cultures into a 30 minute episode.

There are episodes where Lower Decks feels like it’s going in the direction of a clip show (or a Family Guy-style cutaway gag processsion), but so far they haven’t crossed a line to the point where it’s unenjoyable or contrived. If anything, they’re some of the best episodes the show’s done.

If the set/costume budget isn’t a factor, you don’t need to do boring holodeck episodes, or refer to shenanigans happening off-screen (a la DS9). The characters can channel-surf the holodeck’s entire catalogue over the span of an episode. The sky’s the limit!
posted by schmod at 7:41 PM on October 7 [5 favorites]


Is this show nearing the end of season 2? I'm waiting till it finishes before I sub.
posted by Beholder at 12:54 AM on October 8


I think it's 10 episodes in the season?
So this would be the penultimate episode.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 1:48 AM on October 8


Here's a question for those of you who have a more encyclopedic knowledge of the franchise than I do: how long has it been since there's been an episode of Trek that started on the title card with NO cold open (or as Rodenberry called them, a "teaser")?

Threw my household for a loop at first. We thought Paramount+ had glitched out. When we got to the Borg bit in the end credits, we figured that whatever animation budget would normally be spent on the cold open was allocated there instead. (But honestly, there wasn't much there in the way of animation, so maybe not?)
posted by radwolf76 at 3:39 AM on October 8 [1 favorite]


Actual line from the OfBrazil couch: "Hooray! Klingon blood is purple again!"

It took me a while to convince myself that the Klingon captain wasn't voiced by the same guy who played Nu'Daq.

Speaking of the Klingon portion of the episode, anybody else notice a change in the character animation throughout those scenes? Especially on the Klingon bridge? The fights for command were really dynamic and somehow more aesthetically pleasing to watch than other character-action sequences on this show, which I now realize can look choppy at times.

I hope T'Lyn becomes a regular, not just because they did a great job of establishing that character in such a short time, but also because the Cerritos could use a prominent Vulcan. We know the quirks of basically the whole crew now, so bringing in a Frank Grimes-esque straight man could pay a lot of comic dividends.

how long has it been since there's been an episode of Trek that started on the title card with NO cold open (or as Rodenberry called them, a "teaser")?

IIRC there was a previous Lower Decks episode that did that. And I'm fairly sure that the TNG premiere, "Encounter at Farpoint," went straight to the credits. (I can't recall if DISCO ever did it.) It is rare, though.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 3:51 AM on October 8 [2 favorites]


how long has it been since there's been an episode of Trek that started on the title card with NO cold open (or as Rodenberry called them, a "teaser")?

Four weeks. LD had two previous episodes with no teaser: "Cupid's Errant Arrow" (S1E05) and "An Embarrasment of Dooplers" (S2E05).
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 5:15 AM on October 8 [3 favorites]


Huh. Don't know how I didn't notice the previous two times LD did it. How about non- Lower Decks Trek? Do we have to go back all the way to Farpoint, or have there been any other examples?
posted by radwolf76 at 8:55 AM on October 8


Pretty sure Farpoint is it. Pilot eps make the most sense for skipping the tease, but the DS9 and VOY premieres both had opening crawls and action sequences before the credits. I'm almost positive no DS9 or VOY eps skipped the tease, though some were very very short.

I guess I can't be sure about Enterprise. If they ever skipped it, it wasn't often. (Wish they'd skipped the credits...)
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 9:18 AM on October 8


One of the things that I liked about the DS9 premiere and credit sequence is that, IIRC, it's right after the Siskos arrive at the station, so it ties in directly with their first view.
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:27 AM on October 8 [3 favorites]


Are we ranking opening credits? Because DS9's credits are just, like, painfully long and dull.

We get it. This show takes place on a space station (whose interior volumes have absolutely no relation to the exterior model).

LD strikes a good balance. Not too long, good variety, and sets the tone for the show.

DSC is more abstract, but I love it. Picard's credits are easily the most "meh" of modern Trek
posted by schmod at 11:39 AM on October 8


(whose interior volumes have absolutely no relation to the exterior model).

That's a space opera tradition, though, and not just for the TARDIS. Look at the Millenium Falcon interior plans sometime. I like the DS9 theme, especially after they beefed it up mid-series (and added the Defiant to the sequence). The little guy working on the station exterior is neat, too. ENT's sequence would also be good--and they did a neat trick when they changed the visual references and theme for the mirror universe episodes--but that. damn. song. (I didn't find out until much later that "Archer's Theme", which plays over the end credits, was the original theme for the show.)
posted by Halloween Jack at 12:12 PM on October 8


Kind of love T'Lyn. Hope she comes back. The microexpression outbursts! The coolly affectless trash talk! The rebellious near-mutiny of calmly completing an unassigned task rather than accepting punitive spiritualism!
posted by kyrademon at 1:52 PM on October 8 [4 favorites]


All I know about pottery throwing is from watching The Great Pottery Throw Down, but given that many failures in pottery throwing is due to gravity (that is, the sides of the pot become too thin to support the weight of the clay), I imagine you could make some amazing pieces if you throw in low or zero gravity.
posted by ShooBoo at 2:36 PM on October 8


I guess I can't be sure about Enterprise. If they ever skipped it, it wasn't often. (Wish they'd skipped the credits...)

I’m 98% inclined to say they never did, if only because the opening theme is so dire that after a single slack-jawed listen to it on Sept 26, 2001, my reflexes with the remote mean I have never heard anything beyond “It’s been a lo—“ for 21 years now.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 9:16 PM on October 8 [4 favorites]


Also can I say that it's genuinely weird that the writers decided a "twelve hour warp" was an unusually long time to be at cruising speed. Let's assume for a moment that a California class ship can't outrun a Galaxy class ship, whose maximum rated cruising speed is warp 9.6. That warp factor corresponds to 1,909 times the speed of light, which is about 0.21 light years per hour. That means a ship at warp 9.6 could traverse 2.61 light years in 12 hours, or a little over half the distance to Alpha Centauri from Earth. I don't think the Cerritos was actually pushing warp 9.6 just to get to a planetary survey mission, nor do I think 12 hours is anything but a pretty short amount of time to be at warp, actually.

Yes, this is a nerdy nitpick, but I thought it was fairly well understood that it takes real time to get from place to place in Star Trek, typically days or weeks. This transit time is skipped over in episodes because it would be boring to constantly demonstrate how long it takes to get around the galaxy. This is one of the things I genuinely like about Star Trek: being on a starship is a lot like sailing on the ocean, where as it happens it takes days or weeks to get from one place to another. If you were on the lower decks in Starfleet you'd spend a whole lot of time in transit from one place to another, and I guarantee Starfleet is as efficient as the US Navy at filling up all that time with the most tedious bullshit imaginable.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 6:34 PM on October 9 [2 favorites]


Jeepers, dude! Do you know what a ginormous can of gagh you're opening there?!? Yeah, it takes real time to get from place to place... but TOS-era Trek has taken different Enterprises both to the edge of the galaxy (where there's some sort of mysterious energy barrier that can turn humans into Q-level psychics) and the center (where fake God wants a starship). It's not as bad as Game of Thrones with travel times, except when it's worse.
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:22 PM on October 9 [1 favorite]


This is one of the things I genuinely like about Star Trek: being on a starship is a lot like sailing on the ocean, where as it happens it takes days or weeks to get from one place to another

This is the thing I hated most about the JJ Abrams Trek was how it changed the feel of starship travel from sailing ships to more like a freeway drive, or at most a six hour flight to a different city. Fargin' mission impossible approach to interstellar space

but TOS-era Trek has taken different Enterprises both to the edge of the galaxy (where there's some sort of mysterious energy barrier that can turn humans into Q-level psychics) and the center (where fake God wants a starship). It's not as bad as Game of Thrones with travel times, except when it's worse.

It's wildly inconsistent but the constant feel is that it is days or weeks to get somewhere. That's the invariant and the writers always knew that. They more often forgot the size of the galaxy, but the lengths of trips was always right if that makes sense.
posted by mark k at 10:30 PM on October 9 [2 favorites]


This transit time is skipped over in episodes because it would be boring to constantly demonstrate how long it takes to get around the galaxy. This is one of the things I genuinely like about Star Trek: being on a starship is a lot like sailing on the ocean, where as it happens it takes days or weeks to get from one place to another. If you were on the lower decks in Starfleet you'd spend a whole lot of time in transit from one place to another, and I guarantee Starfleet is as efficient as the US Navy at filling up all that time with the most tedious bullshit imaginable.

Agreed across the board. But: because California-class ships are so much smaller, their operational range is likely not quite as great either (i.e., not just maximum warp speed but also space for things like consumables). My sense is that "beta canon" (non-canon) Trek literature established that the smaller ships tend not to travel a great distance from the Federation core, or when they do, it's for one particular mission and then straight back to a starbase or whatever—not just meandering from a remote colony to a remote anomaly to a suspiciously remote conference etc. the way TNG did.

If that all applies to the Cerritos, then maybe twelve hours at relatively high warp IS a little unusual for that crew.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 7:03 AM on October 10 [1 favorite]


Yeah, two things Trek never addresses:
a) Toilets
b) Space is big. Really really big.
'We've received an emergency distress call from the Mincalu sector, Captain.'
"Set intercept course, maximum cruising speed!"
'Course laid in, Warp 8.5.'
"Engage! ... ... ... [claps hands, rubs them together] Well then, let's all reconvene in...?"
'Approximately 34 hours 57 minutes, Captain.'
"Right. So, we'll see everyone back here Tuesday after lunch."
posted by bartleby at 3:06 PM on October 10 [2 favorites]


My sense is that "beta canon" (non-canon) Trek literature established that the smaller ships tend not to travel a great distance from the Federation core

The writers have said the main mission of the Cerritos is "Second Contact," arriving at various new member worlds to the Federation and helping them unpack their benefits. Of course there's no reason why those worlds can't already be deep inside Federation territory, but statistically it's more likely they'll be near the edges. On top of that, the average distance between stars in the galaxy is about 5 light years. So really no matter where you happen to be if you're travelling in interstellar space from anywhere to anywhere it's pretty unlikely your trip will take less than 12 hours.

Anyway, I'm still not denying this is a stupid nerdy nitpick, and it's not even relevant to the story. They could have said "The captain has authorized a 12 hour recreation period during a week long transit" and nothing about the story would have changed. I guess I'm just wondering if this is a genuine mistake or if this is actually the new canon re: how long it takes to get around in Star Trek. There's supposed to be folks who keep this stuff straight so I guess we will just have to see how they write Strange New Worlds.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 4:14 PM on October 10 [2 favorites]


The size of the Cerritos is a storytelling device and while the details on the California-class aren't yet definitive, it seems that it's not much smaller than other ships in StarFleet (by dimensions, by habitable volume is another matter). Memory Alpha links to a Bradward+ post on Twitter, that thread links to Lower Decks changes Star Trek spaceship canon in a big way.
posted by channaher at 7:46 PM on October 10


My headcanon is that, while the Cerritos is physically big, its interior space carries a lot of cargo (without it being a cargo ship per se). Second Contacts seem to be often concerned with giving out a lot of Federation stuff.

Also, when I was going off on a Trek Twitter tangent, it looks like we already have T'Lyn cosplay.
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:05 PM on October 10


This episode was SO MUCH FUN!
posted by brainwane at 10:54 PM on October 30


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