Second contacts are always exciting, and the second season of Star Trek: Lower Decks was no exception. The show returned with ten hilarious and heartfelt episodes last August, leading up to an exciting season finale that ended with a cliffhanger that left fans eager for more. With the new season just around the corner, let’s recap what happened in Season 2 before the crew of the U.S.S. Cerritos makes their triumphant return. 
 
The first season ended with Ensign Mariner deciding to work alongside her mother, Captain Freeman, rather than causing trouble aboard the Cerritos. Just in time, as Mariner’s best friend Ensign Boimler had accepted a promotion and transferred to the U.S.S. Titan under Captain Riker. Elsewhere, Ensign Rutherford lost his memories while saving the Cerritos, but that hasn’t stopped his cheerful spirit — after all, that means he just gets to befriend Ensign Tendi all over again! 

Star Trek: Lower Decks - "I, Excretus"
"I, Excretus"
StarTrek.com

Boimler rejoins the Cerritos after the second episode, following an incident that leads to him getting a transporter clone (it happens to the best of us). Mariner and Boimler’s relationship is tense as they work through Mariner’s feelings of abandonment and anger over his promotion. Boimler is still Boims-ing his way through his job, hoping to impress a commanding officer and make his way up the ladder to captain. He even temporarily joins a group of command track ensigns — the Red Shirt Club — in hopes of becoming a captain-like figure. He manages to do so, but by doing things the Boimler way. 
 
Mariner and Freeman realize that they’re tenser than ever trying to work in perfect harmony after a mother-daughter miscommunication leads to Ransom almost becoming an evil deity. While Mariner and her mother struggle to connect throughout the season, Mariner also has to learn to drop her defenses and not go at everything on her own. To be the best officer she can be, she’ll need to make allies and trust others. 
 
For Tendi and Rutherford… well, they’re always getting into trouble together. Be it trying to save a model Cerritos from an embarrassment of Dooplers to trying to prevent Lt. Billups from losing his virginity (and therefore becoming king of his planet), they’re inseparable. Tendi fears that Rutherford regaining his memories will mean his likes will change and he’ll decide that he no longer likes her, but Rutherford assures her that no matter what, they’ll always be friends. And as long as Rutherford doesn’t probe into how Lt. Shaxs survived the explosion at the end of Season 1, he should be pretty stable.  

Star Trek: Lower Decks - "Strange Energies"
"Strange Energies"
StarTrek.com

Starfleet skirmishes with the Pakleds throughout the second season as the aliens attempt to encroach on Federation space. These pesky foes keep the Cerritos on red alert throughout the season, even if they do believe they are tangling with Captain Janeway when Freeman tries to negotiate a truce with them.  
 
Be it dealing with miscellaneous space junk that the senior staff keeps around to transporting an evil AI with the voice of Jeffrey Combs to the Daystrom Institute, it’s all in a day’s work for the crew of the Cerritos. But in the finale, they get to take center stage all on their own. 
 
While assisting the U.S.S. Archimedes on a first contact mission, Captain Freeman contends with the idea that she might be promoted off the California-class ship to the “big leagues.” Mariner overhears this news and promptly spreads it around the ship, leading to Freeman being confronted by her senior staff. Elsewhere on the ship, Tendi is fleeing from Dr. T’Ana after overhearing the doctor say that she’s not cut out for medical. As interpersonal drama rocks the ship, an unexpected solar flare rocks both the Cerritos and the Archimedes, badly damaging the latter. As the Archimedes plunges towards the planet below, the crew has to figure out a way to save their fellow ship and prevent a planetary disaster! 

Star Trek: Lower Decks - "First First Contact"
"First First Contact"
StarTrek.com

By removing the ship’s outer hull, the crew navigates the debris field to reach their injured fellow ship in time. Boimler saves the day with help from his friends in Cetacean Ops, while Mariner has to trust her frenemy (and possible crush) Jennifer the Andorian to help navigate the debris field. Rutherford must purge his backup memory drives in order to free up space in his implant to help save the day, and in doing so triggers an unfamiliar memory of two shadowy figures discussing him and his implant. Will that be important for Season 3? We can only speculate! 
 
Also, in a near death experience, Boimler sees a koala. We can only assume this is the koala on whose back rests the universe, as seen by an ascending Starfleet officer in Season 1. Bless the koala. 
 
Luckily, the Cerritos saves the Archimedes and her crew from crashing into the planet below. As a thank you, Captain Gomez allows Captain Freeman to make First Contact with the planet, marking the first time that the Cerritos has been the ship to initiate contact with a new civilization. Aboard the Cerritos, Tendi finally confronts Dr. T’Ana, who says she’s recommending the Orion for science officer training. “Like Jadzia Dax,” Tendi exclaims! 
 
As Boimler gathers the crew to celebrate Captain Freeman Day, a Starfleet team beams aboard the Cerritos. Assuming they’re here to offer her a promotion, Freeman tells them she’d prefer to remain on her ship. However, they’re not there for her promotion. Instead, Freeman is accused of the destruction of Pakled Planet, which she couldn’t possibly be behind. It’s a set up!!! 

As the crew, including Mariner, watch in horror, their captain is taken away. It’s up to our scrappy crew of ensigns to save the day next season. Will Mariner be reunited with her mom? Will Boimler learn more about that koala? And what was going on with Rutherford’s memories? Share your theories with us @StarTrek on social, and get ready for the premiere of Lower Decks Season 3 later this week! 


Julian Gardner (they/them) is on the editorial team for StarTrek.com

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 on Bell Media’s CTV Sci-Fi Channel and streams on Crave.

Stay tuned to StarTrek.com for more details! And be sure to follow @StarTrek on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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