With Star Trek: Lower Decks about to debut its second season on Aug. 12 domestically and Aug. 13 internationally, now is the time to catch up on all the galactic shenanigans that took place during its off-the-wall first season.
First things first: let’s meet the crew. Star Trek: Lower Decks chronicles the events that befall the lower deckers – and sometimes the bridge crew – who work aboard the low ranking Starfleet ship the U.S.S. Cerritos. And just who are those lower deckers, you ask?
We have Ensign Beckett Mariner. Mariner takes pride in her combat and investigative skills, and in her reluctance to follow the rules of Starfleet. If someone has bootlegged Romulan whiskey, chances are Mariner was involved.
Second is Ensign Brad Boimler. Our favorite purple-haired neurotic, Boimler is obsessed with someday becoming a captain and knows Starfleet rules and regulations by heart.
Next comes Ensign Sam Rutherford, a cybernetically enhanced human who loves anything and everything engineering. Optimistic, easy-going, and too pure for this world, Rutherford can always be relied upon to bring a ray of sunshine to any situation.
Ensign D’Vana Tendi, an Orion, works in medical and does her best to do things by-the-book. Enamored with the lofty ideals of space exploration, Tendi is always eager to impress and put her smarts to work.
In addition, we have the bridge crew: Captain Carol Freeman (anxious to prove the worth of her ship and command), Lieutenant Shaxs (a Bajoran who believes in right hook first, ask questions later), Commander Jack Ransom (spends most of his free time in the gym), and Dr. T’Ana (a grouchy Caitian).
Now let’s get into it: at the beginning of Season 1, the ensigns are thrown together aboard the Cerritos and quickly bond. The quartet undergoes many adventures during the course of the season, from avoiding flirtatious Anabajs to transporter accidents. Though initially wary of his rule-following nature, Mariner decides she’s Boimler’s mentor, which basically entails making his life as hard as possible, while Tendi and Rutherford become best friends.
Some highlights include:
When Mariner and Boimler are tasked with accompanying a Klingon general on his way to Tulgana 4, disaster strikes when the drunken general decides to make off with the shuttle upon landing and strands the two on the planet. After some misadventures in Little Risa and the Klingon district, Boimler starts feeling like he’s not badass enough to hack it in Starfleet and decides to quit. Luckily, Mariner steps in, and with a little help from a Ferengi friend, convinces Boimler that he is knowledgeable enough to stay.
In Episode 6, “Terminal Provocations,” Rutherford reveals to a spacewalk-stressed Tendi that he’s been working on a new holodeck training program. That program turns out to be a sentient combadge-shaped virtual tutor named Badgey. After some careless words from Rutherford, Badgey develops a malicious, revenge-bent persona and attempts to kill Rutheford and Tendi (“I’m gonna wear your skin!”) Fortunately, the pair escapes when the safety protocols come back online, but that’s not the last we hear of Badgey.
Other adventures include mistaking a party honoring their bridge crew for a trial, competing to win T88s from another starship, building mutant golden retrievers, becoming infested with a love-simulating parasite, and, um, a lot of cleaning.
At the beginning of the season finale, the entire crew finds out that Mariner is actually Captain Freeman’s daughter! (Cue: shock, awe.) In an effort to get a promotion to the Sacramento where no one will know her, Mariner starts acting more official, much to Boimler’s dismay – he wants that promotion, too.
Meanwhile, the Cerritos responds to a distress signal from another Starfleet ship only to discover its remains floating through space. The Cerritos barely has time to take in the surroundings before it’s attacked as well, with one nacelle ripped from the rest of the ship. The attackers are soon revealed to be Pakleds, intent on dismembering the Cerritos and hoarding its technology for themselves. With Captain Freeman’s blessing, Mariner comes up with a scheme to create a virus that can destroy the Pakleds’ tech from the inside, and Badgey whips up a virus in no time.
Rutherford and Shaxs board the Pakled ship to plant the virus, but Badgey, well, is Badgey, and decides to blow the ship completely instead. Shaxs saves Rutherford’s life, ejecting him from the Pakled ship in their shuttle, but dies as the ship explodes and joins the prophets.
However, more Pakled ships appear out of warp to pick up where the destroyed ship left off. Just when all seems lost, the U.S.S. Titan, commanded by Captain Will Riker, appears and saves the day.
In the end, Freeman and Mariner decide to work together so they can uphold Starfleet values and fill in the gaps where Starfleet can’t quite reach. Meanwhile, Boimler is promoted to work on the Titan under Captain Riker shortly after telling Mariner he was done with his ranking-up obsession. Needless to say, Mariner does not take it well.
In the aftermath of the Pakled fight, it’s revealed that Rutherford lost his memory when Shaxs ripped out his cybernetic implant in order to save his life. No worries, though! He and Tendi get to become best friends all over again.
Will Boimler and Mariner ever reconcile? Will Tendi and Rutherford become even better friends? And who could ever replace Shaxs as head of security? We have so many questions — and fortunately, we’ll find the answers to them soon!
Share your favorite season one moments with Star Trek on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, and get ready for Season 2 because Lower Decks fans are in for even more over-the-top alien interactions and ensign antics!
Erin Nyren (she/her) is a digital editor for Paramount+. She's a Data fangirl who can't wait for more Star Trek: Picard, and lives in awe of the Star Trek actresses who had to wear one-piece uniforms.
Star Trek: Lower Decks streams exclusively in the United States and Latin America on Paramount+, on Amazon Prime Video in Australia, New Zealand, Europe, Japan, India and more, and in Canada, airs on Bell Media’s CTV Sci-Fi Channel and streams on Crave.