It’s finally here — the Star Trek: Strange New Worlds and Star Trek: Lower Decks crossover extravaganza. Jack Quaid and Tawny Newsome make their live-action debuts as Boimler and Mariner, and it is nothing short of spectacular. I wondered if seeing them looking human would detract from my viewing experience or take me out of the episode, but I adjusted rather quickly to their appearances. After voicing them for three seasons on Lower Decks, Newsome and Quaid already fully embody these characters. Their performances translated seamlessly into the live-action format. (Complete with Boimler’s trademark scream!)
I love the references to Lower Decks, along with Boimler inadvertently letting slip nods to the future, i.e., Worf and Q. It’s fun watching our Enterprise crew play the “straight men” to Boimler and Mariner’s larger-than-life personas (that make sense in this context). “Those Old Scientists” deftly balances comedy and drama. It also allows our main cast to examine their work in the present and their respective roles in shaping the future. Conversely, it’s delightful to watch Mariner and Boimler reconcile the “history book versions” of these characters with their younger selves.
My heart broke when Chapel (Jess Bush) realizes Spock’s (Ethan Peck) experiment with human emotions won’t last. Mariner’s reverence for Uhura (Celia Rose Gooding) is so touching. Additionally, Boimler and Mariner essentially changing the collective opinion of Orions in honor of Tendi (Noël Wells) is sweetness personified. And don’t get me started on how heartwarming it is for Una (Rebecca Romijn) to know she makes an impact on Starfleet in the future after the discrimination she’s dealt with as an Illyrian (and the nod to “Ad Astra per Aspera“).
In honor of today’s momentous crossover episode, here are my favorite quotes from “Those Old Scientists.” Energize!
MARINER: “I’m sorry, hold up. Look, I’m gonna keep this, like, 100 percent profesh, but I was thoroughly unprepared for how hot young Spock was going to be. Like, what? The body, the face, the ears, what?”
Mariner — girl — I get it. If you allow me to be shallow for a second, Spock is fine with a capital “F.” (Ethan Peck, if you see this … I’m sorry.) Plus, he and Chapel make a super cute couple. This line made me laugh out loud because it’s such a Mariner thing to say. I feel like we lost nothing with Mariner and Boimler’s crossover into live-action, and that’s thanks in huge part to Newsome and Quaid’s impeccable performances.
Anyway, we were all Mariner when she said this. Guaranteed.
MARINER: “Okay, so that is just Boimler. He’s probably just freaked out because you’re Number One. I mean, he has a poster of you up in his bunk.”
NUMBER ONE: “A poster? You mean, like, a pinup poster?”
MARINER: “It’s a poster that is pinned up. Are we saying the same thing?”
NUMBER ONE: “You know what? I don’t wanna know.”
I love that we’re getting more comedic moments for Rebecca Romijn this season. She navigates those so well. It’s hilarious that Una assumes Boimler has a pinup poster of her in his room. She might be wondering if she ever poses for a pinup shoot in the future. Naturally, comedy ensues when Mariner misunderstands what Una says. Yes, a pinup poster can also mean a poster that’s pinned up. Words are weird.
PELIA: “Most heroes I’ve seen are just pretending half the time. There’s this one guy I remember, he said to me, ‘I always pretended to be someone I wanted to be, until finally, I became that someone, or he became me.'”
Fun fact: Pelia (Carol Kane) knew Cary Grant back in the day. This quote is attributed to the late Hollywood legend. It’s all about faking it until you make it. If you want to be a hero, pretend to be one until you actually become one. It’s nice to think Boimler derived inspiration from it while endeavoring to remedy his mistakes in this timeline. Maybe we’ll hear him quoting it on Lower Decks. Who knew Cary Grant’s influence would last centuries after his passing?
MARINER: “I don’t think Boimler can handle being thrown in the brig by a guy he dressed up as for Halloween. He had to contour the hell out of the jawline, too.”
Listen, Anson Mount‘s got jawline for days. And hair that’ll never look small (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia for the win). I think we need photographic evidence of Boimler dressing as Pike for Halloween … for science. Complete with an overly contoured jawline and hair as close to Jesus as possible.
BOIMLER: “I’m sorry about your dad. But I wonder, if someday you’re not around anymore, how many people on this ship would wish they had another day to talk to you?”
Boimler inadvertently (or perhaps intentionally) helps Pike embrace the present moment with this lovely quote. I think Pike will always struggle with knowing his fate for the rest of his life — as would anyone, for that matter. The urge to ask Boimler and Mariner questions about what they know would’ve been overwhelming. It’s only natural that he tries to find closure via his late father, perhaps as a way to come to terms with his own end.
That makes Boimler’s remark all the more impactful. It also applies to real life. We should all take a page from this show’s book and squeeze every drop out of each moment. Live in the now with those we love so they aren’t filled with regret when we go.
RANSOM: “Oh, Numero Una. Hottest first officer in Starfleet history.”
I was hoping we’d get a reference to Rebecca Romijn and Jerry O’Connell‘s real-life marriage. It’s hilarious enough that they both play first officers in their respective shows. I wish they would’ve interacted, but c’est la vie. This is such a subtle way of hinting at their union without outright stating the obvious.
So, does this mean that TOS canonically means “Those Old Scientists”? I sure hope so.
What are your favorite quotes from “Those Old Scientists”? Sound off in the comments below.
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds streams new episodes every Thursday on Paramount+.
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