Published Sep 8, 2023
Below Deck with Lower Decks: Holograms on the Loose
It's Voyager. Things got freaky.
By Dayton Ward
SPOILER WARNING: Discussion for Star Trek: Lower Decks - Season 4, Episode 1 “Twovix” to follow!
Wait. Didn’t we just do something like this a year ago, or something?
If it’s summer, then that must mean an all-new season of Star Trek: Lower Decks, and a fresh batch of shenanigans and trouble for our favorite junior-grade officers aboard the U.S.S. Cerritos. In this first episode of the new season, “Twovix,” the crew is assigned to escort the legendary U.S.S. Voyager to Earth to undergo transition from active starship to “living museum.” Naturally, Ensign Boimler is super-excited to step aboard the storied vessel, but this time it’s Mariner who can’t control her excitement at the prospect.
Not long after our favorite Lower Deckers board the famous starship and start taking inventory for potential museum exhibits — cataloguing and preparing for transport all of the things collected by Admiral Kathryn Janeway and her crew over the course of seven years stranded in the Delta Quadrant — trouble inevitably rears its ugly head. In one of the many storage boxes taking up space around the ship is a special orchid the crew collected during the early years of their exile (see Star Trek: Voyager's “Tuvix”), petals from which end up in Voyager’s transporter room and Chief Engineer Billups’ shoe. When he beams back with Dr. T’Ana to the Cerritos, spores in the petal interfere with the transporter systems and fuse the pair into a new, joined lifeform — “T’Illups.”
Meanwhile, the Lower Deckers still aboard Voyager are contending with a whole other problem — an escaped macrovirus that’s replicating itself at a furious rate, attacking the away team and interfering with ship systems (from Voyager's “Macrocosm”). When one of the macroviruses shorts out the control panel to Voyager’s holodeck, this activates several characters from various holoprograms stored in the ship’s computer. And that’s when the “Lower Decks Past Episode Reference Experience,” already running at high volume by this point, gets dialed all the way up to 11.
Just like that, Boimler, Mariner, and the others are facing off against “The Clown,” a hologram encountered by Janeway and her crew in the Voyager episode “The Thaw.” If that’s not bad enough, there’s also Dr. Chaotica, the evil mastermind and diabolical nemesis of Captain Proton, first seen in Voyager’s fifth-season episode “Night,” as part of a holo-program created by Tom Paris, aficionado as he is of various aspects of 20th Century pop culture both real and totally made up for the show. Thanks to holo-emitters installed throughout the ship, the holograms have free reign and proceed to terrorize the away team.
And if THAT’s not bad enough, the holodeck also coughs up Michael Sullivan, the proprietor of an Irish pub from another holo-program Paris created and which Janeway herself fancied. Sullivan was introduced in the sixth-season Voyager episode “Fair Haven," and Janeway fancied him, too. We’re told they met up to play chess, and certainly not anything we can’t describe in detail anyway since this is a family website. However, unlike the other two programs, Sullivan was never particularly malevolent. Therefore, we can only theorize that Mike McMahan and his team brought him into the mix to punish the Lower Deckers. And us.
(Seriously, Mike. That was just evil.)
Meanwhile, it’s up to the away team to figure out how to deal with this latest bout of insanity. Think they can do it? I guess we’ll see on this exciting new episode of Star Trek: Lower Decks!