The USS Cerritos will return to Paramount+ with Star Trek: Lower Decks Season 4 in just a few short weeks. If you’re anything like us, you’ve been consumed with excitement over the impending return of Beta Shift. To keep you occupied in the meantime, this week’s Trek Tuesday offers eight episodes to watch in preparation for Lower Decks Season 4.
Plan to spend your next allotment of buffer time watching these eight episodes.
The very first episode of Lower Decks, “Second Contact,” is a great one to revisit before Lower Decks Season 4. The episode follows Ensign D’Vana Tendi (Noël Wells) on her very first day on the Cerritos. It also sends Ensigns Beckett Mariner (Tawny Newsome) and Bradward Boimler (Jack Quaid) on an away mission that helps explain what “Second Contact” is, exactly.
Plus: could it be narratively significant that the catalyst for the series pilot is Tendi’s arrival on the Cerritos?
In Lower Decks Season 1’s “Terminal Provocations,” Ensign Samanthan Rutherford (Eugene Cordero) invites Tendi to the holodeck to participate in a training program that goes horribly awry. This episode introduces Badgey (Jack McBrayer).
Badgey, the corrupted artificial intelligence, will continue to pose a threat to the Cerritos crew in Lower Decks Season 4. For extra credit, check out Lower Decks Season 3’s “Reflections,” which reveals why Rutherford’s training program came out so wrong.
“No Small Parts”
The Lower Decks Season 1 finale, “No Small Parts,” is a show-stopping episode. It reintroduces the Pakleds, William T. Riker (Jonathan Frakes), and Deanna Troi (Marina Sirtis). Plus, we get our first look at the USS Titan in action. This offers significant context for Star Trek: Picard Season 3.
However, most important for the purposes of this article is the introduction of Peanut Hamper (Kether Donohue). This exocomp has joined Starfleet “to piss off her dad.” But when the opportunity to become a hero presents itself, will Peanut Hamper answer the call? Also, in this episode: Badgey is abandoned in space.
“Where Pleasant Fountains Lie”
In Lower Decks Season 2’s “Where Pleasant Fountains Lie,” another ominous A.I. is introduced. In this episode, Boimler and Mariner are tasked with transporting AGIMUS (Jeffery Combs) to the Daystrom Institute in Okinawa. Previously, AGIMUS had tricked an entire planet’s civilization into believing he was a god.
After a brief detour, the Beta Shifters manage to deliver AGIMUS to Daystom’s Self-Aware Megalomaniacal Computer Storage center. There, he is incarcerated alongside many other self-aware megalomaniacal computers. But this A.I.’s return is all but assured in Lower Decks Season 4.
“A Mathematically Perfect Redemption”
A flashback to the events of “No Small Parts” opens Lower Decks Season 3’s “A Mathematically Perfect Redemption.” From there, we discover what happened to Peanut Hamper after she beamed out of the Cerritos and into space at the climax of the Lower Decks Season 1 finale.
After ending up on Areolus, Peanut Hamper is again presented with the opportunity to step up and become a hero. But will she succeed? Or will she end up locked in Daystom’s Self-Aware Megalomaniacal Computer Storage center, literally right next to AGIMUS?
“Those Old Scientists”
In Star Trek: Strange New Worlds Season 2’s “Those Old Scientists,” Boimler and Mariner travel through a time portal and meet the crew of the USS Enterprise NCC-1701-nothing under the command of Captain Christopher Pike (Anson Mount). According to episode Stardates, from the Beta Shifter’s chronological perspective, this episode takes place during the back half of Season 3 on the Lower Decks timeline.
When Boimler and Mariner finally return to the 2380s, they can’t really discuss this adventure. However, we already know from the Lower Decks Season 4 trailer that Mariner is even worse about keeping time travel secrets than La’An Noonien-Singh (Christina Chong) in “Subspace Rhapsody.”
In “Trusted Sources,” a reporter visits the Cerritos and causes some serious friction for the crew. This is especially true for Mariner, who is transferred to Starbase 80 under suspicion of having humiliated Captain Carol Freeman (Dawnn Lewis) in front of the journalist.
However, this episode is most significant for its introduction of the USS Aledo, an autonomous starship that must rescue the Cerritos from a Breen attack. Plus: what were the Breen doing there anyway?
“The Stars at Night”
Fortunately, Mariner returns to the crew of the Cerritos in the Lower Decks Season 3 finale, “The Stars at Night.” However, this episode also reveals that the Aledo (and all of the ships in the Texas Class) run on the same basic code as Badgey. This means the trio of Texas Class ships is genocidal against humans and must be subdued by the entire California Class.
While victorious against the Texas Class, multiple A.I.s still pose threats to the crew of the Cerritos. At the conclusion of “The Stars at Night,” Badgey is rescued from the debris from the climax of “No Small Parts.” But will he join forces with AGIMUS and Peanut Hamper in Lower Decks Season 4? And how will newcomer T’Lyn (Gabrielle Ruiz), first introduced in Lower Decks Season 2’s “wej Duj,” fit in on the Cerritos? We’re anxiously awaiting the return of the Cerritos on September 7, 2023, so we can finally find out.
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