When Captain Freeman accidentally leaves the Lower Deckers behind floating in space to answer a distress call, Starfleet sends over a Pandronian drill instructor to test the Cerritos crew to see how they’re actually measuring up. Pandronians are, of course, another deep cut reference to the animated series because of course it is.
What follows is a series of holodeck adventures where the Cerritos crew battle Borg, the ending of Star Trek II, the alien old west town from “Specter of the Gun,” the mirror universe… this is a veritable parade of Star Trek references and it’s just so neat.
This is one of those reference heavy episodes that appeals straight to the long-time fans, but doesn’t appear so reference heavy that the noobs will be lost. As a matter of fact, Lower Decks seems to have found a happy medium to their references that will satisfy the old fans while not alienating the fans who might be tuning into Trek for the first time.
Needless to say, I enjoyed this episode a lot. No Titan drama, the characters are continuing their development, Boimler, Mariner, and Freeman continue to show who they are and why they belong where they are and, although the true intentions of the Pandronian drill instructor were as clear as air from the beginning, the story wasn’t ever really about her… it was about the crew of the Cerritos coming together to face a problem and, in that way, it was a success.
To say nothing of the return of Alice Krige as the Borg Queen which was an incredible and unexpected treat. I’m really hoping another legacy character makes an appearance in the finale and it becomes a tradition on the show.