SPOILER WARNING: Discussion for Star Trek: Lower Decks – Season 3, Episode 8 “Crisis Point II: Paradoxus” to follow!
Holographic shenanigans are afoot in the latest episode of Star Trek: Lower Decks! Trusted sources tell me this episode was running over budget, so rather than drawing actual planet exterior locations and huge elaborate sets, the show’s animators elected to just render them on the Holodeck to save time and money. It absolutely does make sense. Shut up! #TrueStory
Ensign Boimler decided to create a sequel to Mariner’s Holo-movie program, Crisis Point: The Rise of Vindicta, which was introduced in the first-season episode “Crisis Point.” Crisis Point II: Paradoxus features Boimler himself as the star of the show. With Mariner, Tendi, and Rutherford along for the ride, Boimler, as “Captain Bucephalus Dagger,” seems driven by something altogether different than simply trying to one-up Mariner.
She soon realizes Boimler’s been using the Holodeck to process some terrible news he’s received, similar to how she used her original Holo-movie to work through some of her own issues. They set off on a holographic adventure for the ages to help Boimler find the answers he seeks, including a visit to the third moon of the mysterious planet Shatanari and an audience with a massive rock creature calling itself “Ki-Ty-Ha.”
If your ears perked up at any of that, it’s likely because you recognize the planet’s name as a play on words in reference to the one and only William Shatner. In addition to bringing to life the legendary Captain James T. Kirk himself, Mr. Shatner also directed 1989’s Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. Yes, it’s the one where the Enterprise journeys to “Sha Ka Ree,” a planet at the center of the galaxy, because Spock’s rogue half-brother Sybok is searching for the Vulcan equivalent of God. The being they find is revealed as a dangerous life form trying to escape the planet, and in the film’s original script, it was supposed to unleash a horde of rock-like creatures on Kirk, Spock, and McCoy.
Further, “Sha Ka Ree” itself is a play on the name of iconic actor Sean Connery. The man who gave us the first cinematic portrayal of secret agent James Bond was approached to play the role of Sybok; however, he had already committed to Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, which was released the same summer as Star Trek V.
As for the “god” Boimler and Mariner find? “Ki-Ty-Ha” is its own in-joke, and this time it’s a two-fer! In addition to what the Lower Deckers discover in this episode (no, we’re not spoiling that so soon!), the scene is also a play on Kirk and his crew discovering that the V’ger in Star Trek: The Motion Picture is, in reality, Voyager 6, a space probe launched from Earth in the late 20th Century.
BUT WAIT! There’s more.
We can’t let any reference to Star Trek and rock monsters go without also acknowledging yet another homage to this scene — Commander Peter Quincy Taggart squaring off against a similar creature, Gorignak, in 1999’s pitch-perfect and very loving Star Trek parody, Galaxy Quest.
After all of this, does Boimler find answers to his questions? You’ll just have to watch the episode to find out!
Dayton Ward (he/him) is a New York Times bestselling author or co-author of numerous novels and short stories including a whole bunch of stuff set in the Star Trek universe, and often collaborating with friend and co-writer Kevin Dilmore. As he’s still a big ol' geek at heart, Dayton is known to wax nostalgic about all manner of Star Trek topics over on his own blog, The Fog of Ward.
Star Trek: Lower Decks streams exclusively in the United States and Latin America on Paramount+, and is distributed concurrently by Paramount Group Content Distribution on Amazon Prime Video in Australia, New Zealand, Europe, Japan, India and more, and in Canada on Bell Media’s CTV Sci-Fi Channel and streams on Crave.
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