Star Trek Guide

Star Trek: Lower Decks Revisits Riker's Most Infamous Moments

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Star Trek: Lower Decks Season 1, Episode 10, "No Small Parts," now streaming on CBS All Access.

Star Trek: Lower Decks has been packed with Easter eggs and nods to previous franchise series and films, but the Season 1 finale goes one step further by bringing two familiar faces back into the fold: Captain William Riker and Counselor Deanna Troi. Arriving as the Cerritos is under attack by the Pakled, a pirate species, Riker, with Troi at his side, commands the Titan to swoop in and save the day, turning the tide of battle.

In the aftermath, Ensign Boimler finally receives the Starfleet promotion he has craved the entire season, accepting a transfer and promotion to join Riker's bridge crew on the Titan. After Boimler bids farewell to his friends on the Cerritos, he acclimates to his new role at the helm of the Titan. And as Riker rejoins Troi and his bridge crew to patrol the cosmos in one of Starfleet's most advanced vessels, the Next Generation character can't help but indulge in two of his most questionable pursuits from series' past.

Click the button below to start this article in quick view. Start now

Riker reveals to Troi he has been busy on the Holodeck reviewing old missions by the original Enterprise crew on the NX-01 under the command of Captain Jonathan Archer from Star Trek: Enterprise. Riker and Troi previously used the Holodeck to revisit the prequel series seeking guidance when Riker faced his own crisis of command as the Enterprise confronted a Borg-assimilated Jean-Luc Picard. Fans and critics widely criticized the Enterprise finale's framing device as a glorified interlude during the Next Generation era rather than a full sendoff for Enterprise and its characters. The cast similarly questioned the creative decision.

On Lower Decks, Riker has the Titan play jazz in the bridge as the starship enters warp speed, to Troi's visible exasperation. Next Generation revealed Riker's deep love of jazz and his hobby as an amateur trombone player. That appreciation carried over to Riker's recreational use of the Holodeck, which he programmed to be a virtual recreation of jazz clubs in New Orleans.

With actors Jonathan Frakes and Marina Sirtis reprising their respective roles as Riker and Troi, Lower Decks continues to poke gun at the franchise's mythos, largely at Riker's expense. Riker and Troi's surprise return in Lower Decks' Season 1 finale solidifies the animated series' connections to Star Trek canon. The extended cameos provide a glimpse at Riker and Troi's early days at the helm of the Titan following their marriage and amicable departure from the Enterprise at end of the Star Trek: Nemesis; Lower Decks' premiere subtly identified the show as taking place approximately one year after the events of the 2002 film. And while Riker and Troi succeed in saving the day, Lower Decks, true to form, can't resist a couple self-aware rib at the iconic Star Trek character upon his return.

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. The complete first season is now available to stream on CBS All Access.

About The Author