Star Trek Guide

Lower Decks Brings Back the ORIGINAL Star Trek Villain

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Star Trek: Lower Decks Season 1, Episode 8, "Veritas," now streaming on CBS All Access.

Star Trek: Lower Decks has provided a full tour of the Star Trek mythos, with virtually all of the preceding television series getting at least a nod as the crew of the U.S.S. Cerritos boldly goes where every Starfleet vessel has gone before.

As the crew reflects on their recent escapades while standing on an apparent trial, they recount a trilogy of missions that saw the return of several classic franchise tropes. Among the familiar threats encountered by the Cerritos is a monster television audiences first saw when the original Star Trek premiered in 1966.

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Ensign Beckett Mariner recalls that the crew and its second officer Commander Jack Ransom had a recent run-in with a salt vampire. Taking on the form of beautiful woman, the disguised monster sits at a bar frequented by Mariner and Ransom.

Mariner has previously shown the ability to see through the most elaborate ruses perpetuated by ravenous aliens, but Ransom remains characteristically oblivious. Despite Mariner's warnings, Ransom talks up the vampire and attempts to take her back to his room, only to be nearly consumed as it reveals its true form.

The salt vampire originally appeared in Star Trek's series premiere, "The Man Trap," on a routine mission to the remote planet M-113 to drop off supplies and perform tests on the personnel at Starfleet's science outpost. Populated only by the reclusive scientist Professor Robert Crater and his wife Nancy, the U.S.S. Enterprise crew quickly realized the planet's only indigenous species had used its shape-shifting abilities to infiltrate the starship. The creature drained its victims of the salt in their blood through suction cups on its hands. It selected Captain Kirk as its latest target and unveiled its horrific true form.

"The Man Trap" suggested the salt vampire encountered on M-113 was the last of its kind, kept alive by Crater after it killed his wife. The professor provided it common table salt to survive. Ultimately, the monster turned on him and killed him before Doctor McCoy was forced to kill it to save Kirk's life. The creature returned as a stuffed trophy in the first season episode "The Squire of Gothos" and as an enemy in the video game Star Trek Online.

Judging by the creature's return in Lower Decks, the salt vampires of M-113 may not be as extinct as the original series suggested. At the very least, the monster's return references the very first episode of Star Trek, which introduced viewers to the iconic science fiction franchise over 50 years ago. Captain Kirk and Commander Ransom may have each survived their own encounters with the salt vampire, but the monsters also appear to be alive and well as they continue to prey on unassuming Starfleet officers patrolling the cosmos.

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.

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