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The Coolest References And Easter Eggs From Star Trek: Lower Decks 'Veritas'

Star Trek: Lower Decks is many things: the second animated series in Star Trek history, a loving homage to the Star Trek: The Next Generation era of the franchise, and a veritable smorgasbord of references to random minutiae from the Star Trek universe. Genuinely, at least 25% of every episode of Lower Decks is just shout-outs to Klingon weapons and obscure characters that only five people remember.

Take it from one of those five people: The more annotations you have, the more fun Star Trek: Lower Decks becomes. That's why we're here to annotate the best Easter Eggs from the latest episode, "Veritas." This is an especially reference-heavy story, so we're going to stick with our favorites. Some spoilers ahead for the episode, as a result.

In "Veritas," the crew of the Cerritos finds themselves on trial. One-by-one, each member of our team tells their version of the events that landed them in this situation. Let's sift through these differing accounts for references one at a time.

Mariner's story

Mariner (Tawny Newsome) doesn't know much. She knows she was late getting to the bridge. She knows there are bug people, and that those bugs are very mad about a map.

Mariner's story references a ton of stuff, including the Klingon practice of taking no prisoners, Khan Noonien Singh's (Ricardo Montalbán) thick chest (which is real, by the way), Picard's (Patrick Stewart) vineyard, Sisko's (Avery Brooks) father's restaurant, and Stellar Cartography (which made its first appearance in Star Trek: Generations).

However, there are two references that stand out as the tied-for-first, MVPs of this segment: Roga Danar (Jeff McCarthy) and the Jarada (we think).

Last in first out: Those bug aliens the Cerritos is contending with are easily insulted and seem to have very particular rules of etiquette. This is likely a reference to an TNG episode called "The Big Goodbye," in which Picard must perfectly pronounce a greeting to the mysterious insect race, the Jarada, in order to repair the relationship between them and the Federation.

Roga Danar is the person Boimler (Jack Quaid) names when Mariner asks who is one of the all-time badasses in Starfleet history. Roga Danar is a veteran from the Angosian military. In a TNG episode called "The Hunted," the Enterprise encounters Danar, who is trying to escape his own people. He seems like a violent criminal at first, but eventually Picard and company figure out that Danar was experimented on to become a kind of super-soldier. Unfortunately, Danar and soldiers like him can't function normally after the war, so their government hides them away and treats them like trash. It's a pretty clear allegory for PTSD and the way many nations on Earth treat their soldiers after war.

For the record, Boimler is absolutely correct: Roga Danar is very badass, deserves our sympathy, and also has amazing hair.

Rutherford's story

Rutherford (Eugene Cordero) plays a much more active role in the story of "Veritas" ... kinda. Basically, Rutherford is enlisted into the mission because his cyborg brain can learn whatever the mission needs in an instant — like Neo (Keanu Reeves) downloading Kung-Fu in The Matrix. The problem is that whenever Rutherford's brain updates, he temporarily blacks out only to regain control and awareness in the middle of the action. We know that he helps steal an old Romulan Bird of Prey and gets up to some shenanigans, but all the context is lost.

Good news, though! We can provide context for all the references from this part of "Veritas," which includes Denobulan flesh-eating viruses (shout out to Star Trek: Enterprise's Doctor Phlox [John Billingsley]), the Gorn (who bite during their weddings, apparently), and Uhura's (Nichelle Nichols) sultry fan dance from Star Trek: V – The Final Frontier.

However, there are two very quick references we have got to call out, both so quick that they're easy to miss. They both occurs when Rutherford snaps to awareness just in time to save Commander Andy Billups (Paul Scheer) from dying of carbon-monoxide poisoning. While Billups is delirious, he says "Mark Twain's got a gun" and "Tasha, no, the garbage bag's behind you!"

In the two-part TNG episode "Time's Arrow" the crew goes back in time where they run afoul of Mark Twain. The Tasha in question is poor Tasha Yar (Denise Crosby) who was brutally murdered by a a psychokinetic puddle of evil ooze named Armus. Yes, Armus looks like a trash bag. Bless those season 1 TNG special effects.

Probably the most interesting part of this is that Billups clearly got his start as an ensign on the Enterprise D back in the day.

Tendi's story

Of all the crew members, the one who actually knows most of what's going on during "Veritas" is Tendi (Noël Wells). Tendi also accidentally got pulled into a top secret mission: taking the Romulan Bird of Prey Rutherford stole and helping Commander Ransom (Jerry O'Connell) steal a mysterious package from Romulus.

There are a lot of jokes about Romulans here, mostly involving the way scanning and cloaking work, but there's also a very amusing riff on the way Romulans hate the people from their sister planet, Remus. Star Trek fans had never even heard of the Remans until Star Trek: Nemesis. Even now, most of what we know about them is that they are psychic, and that the Romulans hate them like nuts in brownies.

The best reference, though, is the package itself. The secret package contains the very alien who has placed the Cerritos crew on trial. The way he is held in stasis is very similar to the way Worf's (Michael Dorn) former girlfriend (and Alexander's mother) K'Ehleyr (Suzie Plakson) was ferried out of dangerous space in the TNG episode "The Emissary."

Boimler's story

Boimler has absolutely nothing to do with the events that lead the Cerritos crew to find themselves in the predicament they're in. Bless his heart, that doesn't stop him from going off on a real tirade.

Boimler's rant about how Starfleet officers don't actually know what they're doing includes references to Ransom's date with a salt vampire (from the TOS episode "The Man Trap"), Q's tendency to put humanity on trial in weird, arbitrary ways, and several instances where Dr. Beverly Crusher (Gates McFadden) either gets lost in a bubble universe ("Remember Me") or falls in love with a ghost lamp ("Sub Rosa").

It is a big deal that John de Lancie returned to play Q for Star Trek: Lower Decks, but the sneakiest, best reference to Star Trek's past comes from the final word of Boimler's diatribe: Drumhead.

"Veritas" seems like it's about an unfair trial. One of the TNG episodes people sometimes forget about is a morality play called "The Drumhead," which features Captain Picard calling out a trial that has strayed from the noble pursuit of truth, and devolved into false accusations and open bigotry. Boimler references this particularly stunning Picard speech to prove that the crew of the Cerritos has been wrongfully convicted.

Naturally, because this is Star Trek: Lower Decks, the rug gets pulled out from Boimler. You might even say he gets hoisted by his own Picard.

One final note: The alien putting the crew "on trial" is played by Kurtwood Smith, who also played the President of the Federation in Star Trek: VI – The Undiscovered Country, Thrax on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and Annorax on Star Trek: Voyager.

Those are our favorite Star Trek references from "Veritas." Did you catch them all or do you need to go back and watch some classic Star Trek?