Star Trek: Lower Decks Brings Back Picard's Nemesis Ride
Warning: SPOILERS for Star Trek: Lower Decks Season 1, Episode 1 - "Second Contact"
Star Trek: Lower Decks' season premiere re-introduced the Argo, the all-terrain vehicle driven by Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) in 2002's Star Trek: Nemesis. Created by Mike McMahan (Rick & Morty), Star Trek: Lower Decks is the first half-hour animated comedy set in the Star Trek Universe. It's also set in 2380, just one year after the events of Star Trek: Nemesis.
The fourth and final movie starring the cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Nemesis saw Captain Picard meet one of his deadliest enemies, his own clone named Shinzon (Tom Hardy). Picard's would-be doppelganger conquered the Romulan Empire, installed himself as Praetor, and implemented a complicated plot to destroy the United Federation of Planets with a Thalaron weapon. Thanks to the heroism of Commander Data (Brent Spiner), Picard was able to defeat Shinzon, but it required the android sacrificing his life to save the U.S.S. Enterprise-E. But part of Shinzon's scheme involved Data discovering his own doppelganger, an imperfect Soong-type android called B-4, on the planet Kolarus. Instead of beaming down from the Enterprise, Picard, Data, and Lt. Commander Worf (Michael Dorn) flew to Kolarus aboard a heavy-duty shuttlecraft and used a new, dune-buggy like vehicle called the Argo to collect B-4's scattered parts and escape hostile natives.Click the button below to start this article in quick view. Start now
Star Trek: Lower Decks revealed that the series' signature starship, the U.S.S. Cerritos, also has an Argo. In the premiere episode, "Second Contact", Ensign Beckett Mariner (Tawney Newsome) steals away from her Away team's mission and drives the Argo on a clandestine journey to deliver farming equipment to some Galardonian farmers, and she's followed by her fellow shipmate in the lower decks, Ensign Brad Boimler (Jack Quaid). Mariner's Argo is the exact same vehicle Picard drove on Kolarus the year prior, only with the Starfleet delta insignia in place of the "Argo" manufacturers' logo.
The Argo's presence in Star Trek: Nemesis was an olive branch from the film's producers to Patrick Stewart. As the legendary actor himself admitted in Star Trek: Nemesis' behind the scenes features on the DVD, the Argo was a "gift" to him from writer John Logan to entice the reluctant Stewart to return as Picard. In real life, Stewart is an enthusiast for driving and off-roading; Logan (likely fueled by inside info from his good friend Brent Spiner, who helped conceive the film's story) knew that Sir Patrick would be far more inclined to sign onto Star Trek: Nemesis if there was a scene where Picard got to drive a new, all-terrain vehicle and lead an exciting chase sequence.
However, many Trekkers take issue with Star Trek: Nemesis' Argo action scenes by citing how out of character it is that the cerebral Jean-Luc Picard suddenly became so gung-ho about off-roading, but this is just one of a litany of complaints about Star Trek: Nemesis, which is generally seen as one of the worst Star Trek movies. The Argo also doesn't make sense as a Starfleet vehicle since the open-air buggy is considerably less practical than the shuttlecraft that was used to cargo it to the planet.
Regardless, the Argo is, apparently, now a common part of Starfleet and it has become a standard-issue vehicle if the Cerritos has them aboard. After all, the Cerritos isn't even considered one of Starfleet's important vessels, although perhaps the act of giving the Cerritos the rather silly Argo is a statement in of itself. Since "Second Contact" began with the Cerritos docked at Douglas Station for refit and resupply, it's possible that the Argo may have been loaded aboard while Mariner was getting drunk on Romulan whiskey and accidentally slashing Boimler's leg open with a Klingon bat'leth in the opening moments of Star Trek: Lower Decks' hilarious series premiere.
Star Trek: Lower Decks streams Thursdays on CBS All-Access.
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