Star Trek Guide

Star Trek: Lower Decks: Who Is Ensign Mariner?

WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Season 1, Episode 1 of Star Trek: Lower Decks, "Second Contact," now streaming on CBS All Access.

At its core, Star Trek has always been an ensemble show. However, every series in the franchise has also featured its own lead characters, such as James T. Kirk, Jean-Luc Picard, Kathryn Janeway and Michael Burnham. Such is the same for the animated series Star Trek: Lower Decks. The latest entry in the Gene Roddenberry-created franchise stars the crew of the U.S.S. Cerritos, which is headlined by one of the series' lead character: Ensign Beckett Mariner.

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In the series' first episode, "Second Contact," viewers are introduced to Mariner, a Starlet Officer who has little regard for proper etiquette and procedure. However, there's a very particular reason for that -- so who is Ensign Mariner, Star Trek's newest lead character?

When we first meet Mariner, she is a bit of a loose canon, with minimal concern for the rules or orders. She is an officer who is disenchanted with her position -- but as we later learn, she actually has a very good reason. It turns out she once served on another Federation starship and, after an incident, she was eventually demoted and transferred to the U.S.S. Cerritos. As the episode comes to a close, it becomes apparent as to why she was moved to another ship.

Evidently, the U.S.S. Cerritos' Captain -- Mariner's Captain -- is actually her mother, Carol Freeman. The transfer of Captain Freeman's daughter was no accident. Before she was on the Cerritos, Mariner served on a ship commanded by her father -- a Starfleet Admiral. He was the one who had Beckett transferred to her mother's ship, and it doesn't look like he wants her back at all.

Worse still, Captain Freeman has no desire to have her daughter serve aboard the Cerritos either. In fact, she tasks fellow Ensign Boimler with following Beckett to catch her breaking Starfleet rules so she can use that as an excuse to have her daughter kicked off the ship. Fortunately, Boimler sticks by his friend, and Beckett remains aboard the ship -- for now.

There seems to be a certain game of hot potato between Mariner's parents, who both don't want their daughter to serve on their respective ships. The disdain Mariner feels from her parents must be a reason as to why she's a bit of a rebel.

As the daughter of a Starfleet Captain and Admiral, Mariner is put in a unique position aboard the U.S.S. Cerritos that sets her apart from any other character in the Star Trek franchise. And best of all, this gives us an idea of what we can expect from Season 1's overarching storyline. Now, we understand that part of Star Trek: Lower Decks is a family affair -- and it's bound to lead to all sorts of trouble.

Star Trek: Lower Decks stars Tawny Newsome as Ensign Beckett Mariner, Eugene Cordero as Ensign Rutherford, Jack Quaid as Ensign Brad Boimler, Noël Wells as Ensign Tendi, Dawnn Lewis as Captain Carol Freeman, Jerry O'Connell as Commander Jack Ransom, Gillian Vigman as Doctor T'Ana and Fred Tatasciore as Lieutenant Shaxs. New episodes premiere Thursdays on CBS All Access.