All 10 episodes of Star Trek: Lower Decks season 3 have been released on DVD and Blu-Ray. Better yet, 50% of the episodes feature audio commentary tracks. These bonus features are filled with information about Lower Decks season 3, the series in general, and even some of what’s in store in season 4. Here’s what we learned from the Lower Decks season 3 audio commentaries.
One of the most surprising pieces of information relates to Donnie Darko. According to Lower Decks creator and showrunner Mike McMahan, a scene in this movie inspired Peanut Hamper’s “mathematically perfect” name. In Darko, one of the eponymous characters’ teachers (played by Drew Barrymore) claims that “Cellar Door” is a perfect phrase. This memorable scene inspired the name “Peanut Hamper.”
Speaking of Peanut Hamper (Kether Donohue), the commentary for “A Mathematically Perfect Redemption” also reveals that we can look forward to the return of the antagonist in Lower Decks season 4.
Each of the five commentary tracks included on the Lower Decks season 3 set features a different array of commentators. However, some of them have previously appeared in commentaries for the series. This includes Jonathan Frakes, who does not appear onscreen in this season. Nevertheless, the commentary for “Grounded” explains why he was invited. This is because the episode pays homage to Star Trek: First Contact, the first Trek movie directed by Frakes.
Frakes previously appeared on the commentary for Lower Decks season 2’s “Kayshon, His Eyes Open.” His dialogue in this commentary track had to be “bleeped” because he revealed a spoiler about the Titan. However in spite of McMahan taunting him about being censored in the commentary for “Grounded,” Frakes apparently manages to avoid spoilers (this round).
Because each of the five Lower Decks season 3 commentary tracks has a different roster of guests, there are many other exciting appearances. This includes Nana Visitor and Armin Shimerman on “Hear All, Trust Nothing,” and an appearance by the Cerritos Captain herself, Dawnn Lewis, on “The Stars at Night.”
Journey to Orion
Another detail unveiled by the Lower Decks season 3 commentaries is the revelation that Lower Decks season 4 will feature the debut of a planet we’ve heard about but never visited: Orion. Naturally, this story will most likely center on Ensign D’Vana Tendi (Noël Wells).
As one of the first Orion officers in Starfleet, Tendi has faced external and internalized discrimination. However, in the episode “Hear All, Trust Nothing,” she is forced to confront some of these personal prejudices. Thanks to a subsequent realization in “Crisis Point 2: Paradoxus,” Tendi realizes she wants to see herself in a Captain’s chair.
In addition to promising further development of Tendi, this is also an exciting prospect for Trekkies generally. The first Orion appeared in the very first episode of Star Trek: The Original Series, “The Cage.” However, while we have met Orion characters on several intervening Trek shows, we have only previously caught a holographic glimpse of their home planet (in the first episode of Lower Decks, “Second Contact”).
This isn’t the only alien who will get expansion in forthcoming episodes of Lower Decks. In a season 2 commentary, McMahan revealed future Lower Decks episodes will explore more of the green-and-purple skinned species introduced in Lower Decks season 2’s “Strange Energies,” of which Captain Riker’s First Officer (Vanessa Marshall) is a member.
Shax and Diane?
The commentary for “The Stars At Night” features Lewis, Jack Quaid (Ensign Bradward Boimler), and Fred Tatasciore (Lieutenant Shax). Crucially, Tatasciore’s statements may reveal a key piece of information about Doctor T’Ana (Gillian Vigman): her name!
In the Lower Decks season 3 episode “Room for Growth,” the Beta Shifters come upon Shax and T’Ana engaging in “crime play” in the holodeck. This scene includes dialogue in which Shax calls T’Ana “Diane.” The line is followed by Boimler making the assumption that Diane is T’Ana’s “kinky sex name.”
However, the casual manner in which Tatasciore uses “Diane” while referring to the character in this commentary track suggests an alternate explanation: that T’Ana’s first name is simply “Diane.” If accurate, this could be a reference to one of TV’s most famous romantic couples, Sam and Diane on Cheers.
Second Commentary Contact
With commentary tracks on half the episodes, Lower Decks season 3 may have the highest episode-to-commentary ratio on any Trek home video release, ever. However, to look a gift horse in the mouth, these informative commentaries prove that each and every episode of Lower Decks could support a commentary.
Furthermore, there are plenty of additional guests who we would love to see appear on future commentary tracks. These include Paul F. Tompkins (Doctor Migleemo), who co-hosts The Pod Directive podcast with Lower Decks star, Star Trek: Starfleet Academy writer and season 3 commentator Tawny Newsome (Ensign Beckett Mariner). However, we’ll keep our fingers crossed for season 4.
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