Star Trek: Lower Decks Season 4 Episode 10 Review: Old Friends, New Planets

Spoilers

Star Trek quandaries are most provocative when they illustrate a solid “What if?” scenario.

Star Trek: Lower Decks Season 4 Episode 10 offers renegade miscreant Nick Locarno up as a “What if?” foil to Mariner, embodying a potential future Beckett where rage and ego have derailed skill and talent.

Meanwhile, Tendi must live out the “What if?” of her returning to her family of pirates because the needs of the many outweigh her dream of being a Starfleet scientist.

This season finale does what Lower Decks has always done well, building a fast-paced action comedy on the foundation of Star Trek canon.

At this point, it’s pretty meta, as much of the canon it references is its own.

I’ll admit that this season has managed to subvert many of my expectations.

Theorizing based on the seeds planted in Star Trek: Lower Decks Season 3, I had forecast an AI uprising leading to some Borg encounter where they pat the Badgey-Peanut Hamper-Agimus triumvirate on their collective memory banks and comment on how cute they are.

So, the revisit and redemption of Nick Locarno has been a refreshing surprise.

Tendi: Sheesh, why is he so mad?
Ransom: Locarno was kicked out of Starfleet. He got one of his squad killed performing a banned flight maneuver, then tried to cover it up.
T’Lyn: Clearly, his emotional behavior conflicts with his culpability.
T’Ana: Yeah, he’s an a**hole.

Weaving Mariner’s early Starfleet life into that of Sito Jaxa and Nova Squadron not only provides a timeline anchor to Mariner’s career, but it also reaffirms the post-TNG and DS9 Federation mentality.

Mariner: Nice ship. Very… white. And nothing else.
Locarno: Thanks. I designed it myself. None of the Starfleet carpets or wood paneling in here.

Robert Duncan McNeill’s return feels destined as he reprises Locarno just over two years after appearing as Tom Paris on Star Trek: Lower Decks Season 2 Episode 3.

This is nearly the temporal inverse of playing Cadet Locarno on Star Trek: The Next Generation Season 5 Episode 19, just a few years before Star Trek: Voyager premiered with him as live-action Tom Paris.

McNeill playing the dual roles is some low-hanging but inescapable humor waiting to fall.

Rutherford: They have, like, the same face! They’re identical!
Boimler: No, I just don’t see it.

And to channel some JL Picard, if it were done when ’tis done, then ’twere well it were done quickly.

Rutherford: They have, like, the same face! They’re identical!
Boimler: No, I just don’t see it.

They don’t make a big deal about it, but the elephant is addressed, and they move on. Classy.

I have more issues with the flashback to Nova Squadron before the Kolvoord Starburst disaster.

Yay(!) for Wil Wheaton returning as Wesley Crusher, but where the heck is Jean Hajar? Nova Squadron had five members, made more evident by the fact the logo Locarno sports is the five-pointed Kolvoord Starburst.

(And about that, who else gets that peaked-in-high-school vibe off good ol’ Nick?)

Locarno: I could’ve been the best pilot in Starfleet.
Mariner: Don’t let that anger define your life. You stunned all those crews. You didn’t kill them because deep down you’re not a murderer.
Locarno: I’m sorry but I really am. My perfect life was taken from me and now, I’m getting it back.

Omitting Hajar seems especially strange, considering they have Shannon Fill (categorized as a “former TV actress”) back as Sito Jaxa when Walker Brandt is still actively acting professionally.

Similar to when Mariner joined Trek-verse Lara Croft, Petra Aberdeen, on Star Trek: Lower Decks Season 3 Episode 9, nothing stokes her Federation fires more than when someone disparages the foundational values it promotes.

Locarno: I thought you were smarter than everyone else. Sounds like you’re just another apologist for a broken system.
Mariner: Hey, Starfleet’s not perfect. They mess up all the time. But in the end, they’re trying to do what’s right.

The U.S.S. Passaro Mariner commandeers is a double enigma — one explainable and the other a minor plothole.

The name is explainable. It commemorates the late Fabio Passaro, a creator at Eaglemoss Productions who, over his career, was responsible for countless CG models and their display model CAD files.

What’s leaving many of us scratching our heads is how Locarno got his hands on a Federation ship that still responds to Starfleet override codes.

Locarno: Look, why don’t you just dock at the station? If you really don’t want to join me, I’ll send you on your way.
Mariner: And let you get your hands on a planetary murder machine? Uh, no thanks.

Either way, both Passaro and Locarno are now incorporated into the new planet, forever a part of something new and alive, thanks to the Genesis device.

Of course, it seems improbable for the Ferengi to have created their own Genesis device that actually works mainly because I doubt the Grand Nagus Rom, seen on Star Trek: Lower Decks Season 4 Episode 6, would’ve approved such a thing.

But if Lower Decks has taught us anything, it’s that every species in the galaxy is capable of sciencing. So, assuming the Ferengi built their own Genesis device, wouldn’t it be more profitable to put a paywall on the activation rather than the deactivation?

Locarno: I graduated top of my class. Do you think I don’t know how to disarm a bomb?
Mariner: First off, you didn’t graduate. And second, that thing is too dangerous for anyone.

A second paywall for deactivation would also be very Ferengi, but not charging Mariner to start ‘er up is just leaving latinum on the table.

Ultimately, Locarno’s ambitions overshoot his reach, and Mariner wants the win more.

In my estimation, his strategic misstep was bringing Sito into the debate. Mariner’s allegiance is to her memory, not to Locarno’s ego or Nova Squadron’s prestige. When Locarno dismisses her death as a waste, it’s a bridge too far.

After multiple adventures where Mariner and the Beta Shifters come to the rescue of the senior officers, it’s sweet to see Captain Freeman tap her inner Beckett and disregard orders to do what’s right.

Not only that but employing a Riker-esque (à la Star Trek: Picard Season 3 Episode 4) technique, like throwing the Orion destroyer at the Trynar Shield, is a suitably spectacular strategy that technically doesn’t involve firing a shot.

Freeman: If we move fast, we can still track his warp trajectory.
Vassery: Unfortunately, there is no moving fast in a situation like this.
Admiral Freeman: What situation?
Vassery: Locarno has coordinated mutinies on ships from over a dozen non-Federation planets. If we did something that injured a Klingon or a Romulan…
Admiral Freeman: They turned their backs on their worlds when they moved against their captain!
Vassery: In bloodless coups. We can’t be the first to open fire.

Now, about the trade for that destroyer…

I’ll come right out and state my belief that Tendi’s plan is to make her sister regret bringing her back into the fold.

After their reunion on Star Trek: Lower Decks Season 4 Episode 4, we have a better sense of the familial ties and obligations in high-ranking Orion houses.

The Barter By Battle thing is a new twist, for sure, but despite Migleemo falling victim to the collapsing hulk of his opponent, our Tendi demonstrated a keenly strategic mind for battle.

Tendi: We need a ship with enough firepower to punch a hole. We’d just be borrowing it, really. We’ll give it right back.
D’Erika: Um. It’s a warship. Not a used copy of Sword and Scabbard.

As the queen of the pirates, is D’Erika confident enough to believe The Mistress of the Winter Constellation won’t outshine her?

The whole wedding abduction plot is a product of D’Erika’s insecurities. How long before her elder sister’s natural talent for killing and subterfuge proves too much to handle?

Or perhaps D’Vana will undermine D’Erika’s court and get everyone on board with science nerding?

If all goes to plan, we’ll have our Tendi back on the Cerritos before the opening credits play on the Season 5 premiere.

While we wait and see, let’s consider how far our Beta Shifters have come.

This season alone, they’ve been promoted, commanded away missions, birthed alien babies, uncovered sentient AI plots, redeemed rascals, and infected the crew with emotionality.

They’ve grown to include the scene-stealing, deadpan space Daria Vulcan, T’Lyn and even learned to work with the likes of Livik and Levy.

And Boimler. Has. Captained.

How Crisis Point III was that?

Mariner: Oh boy, someone’s got captain fever.
Boimler: Oh, do I sound captain-y to you? Because Ransom was very happy with my captaining.
Mariner: I like how this has, in no way, gone to your head.

What can they possibly have in store for Season 5 to top all that, Fanatics?

There are rumors of an Enterprise connection. Will we time travel to Archer’s time?

Could we have a proper Mirror Universe adventure? A musical? A fully live-action event?

Live long and speculate, my friends! Hit our comments with your biggest takeaways and hottest theories!

Diana Keng is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She is a lifelong fan of smart sci-fi and fantasy media, an upstanding citizen of the United Federation of Planets, and a supporter of AFC Richmond ’til she dies. Her guilty pleasures include female-led procedurals, old-school sitcoms, and Bluey. She teaches, knits, and dreams big. Follow her on X.

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