The third episode of “Star Trek: Lower Decks‘” second season drops on August 26 at midnight Pacific Time/3 am Eastern Time. The first and second episodes of the season were packed full of references to classic “Star Trek” shows, especially “The Original Series” and “The Next Generation.”
The third episode promises some excellent Easter eggs as well, including the return of “Star Trek: Voyager’s” Lieutenant Tom Paris. Paramount+ has released several preview images for the episode that hint at what’s to come.
The Return of Paris
The episode’s title — “We’ll Always Have Tom Paris” — is a play on two different “Star Trek” references. Obviously, the title confirms that Lieutenant Paris is returning to the Trekverse. However, it also references a first-season TNG episode, “We’ll Always Have Paris.” In that episode, Captain Jean-Luc Picard reunited with an old flame in a holodeck version of Paris, France.
The preview photos don’t seem to suggest that any of the Cerritos crew members will be meeting up with an old partner. However, no reference in “Lower Decks” is random. So, fans should be on the lookout for Easter eggs related to that episode.
A teaser trailer for the second season revealed that Lieutenant Paris would show up as a hallucination of Boimler’s provoked by the fact that Boimler recently acquired a Tom Paris collectible plate. In one of the preview images, Boimler proudly shows off his plate to Mariner and Rutherford.
Later, he appears to be arguing with his plate while in a Jeffries Tube.
In another of the preview images (seen under the header), Paris seems to be entering the bridge of the Cerritos from a turbolift. It’s unclear whether this is Boimler’s hallucination of Paris or Paris himself. Fans were led to believe that Paris would only be back as a hallucination.
However, Robert Duncan McNeill, the actor who played Paris in “Voyager” and voices him for “Lower Decks,” recently teased that he might be back for real. On August 12, McNeill tweeted an image of Paris on the bridge, at the helm of the Cerritos with the caption “Tom Paris is back!”
The on August 24, McNeill tweeted an image promoting the podcast, “A Strange New Pod” that featured the image of Paris entering the bridge. McNeill added the hashtag #HeLives.
McNeill’s tweets suggest that Paris is returning as much more than a hallucination. Depending on the timing of another one of the images, it may also confirm that Paris is not simply a figment of Boimler’s imagination.
Given the order in which the pictures were released by Paramount+, this image appears to capture the moments after Lieutenant Paris walks onto the bridge. Captain Freeman, Commander Ransom, Lieutenant Kayshon, and Chief Engineer Andy Billups seem to be welcoming someone onto the bridge. So, if this scene does come right after Paris’ entrance, it confirms that the rest of the crew can see Paris as well.
A Trip to Stardust City
A few of the preview images reveal that Mariner and Tendi are headed on an away mission to a planet that fans of “Star Trek: Picard” will definitely recognize. In one of the images, Mariner and Tendi stand in front of the Sequoia, presumably the shuttlecraft that they’re taking on their trip to Stardust City on the planet of Freecloud. In another, they lounge in the Sequoia having a discussion.
Captain Picard, Captain Rios, Raffi, Elnor, and Seven of Nine visited Stardust City in the fifth episode of “Picard,” entitled “Stardust City Rag.”
It’s not clear why Mariner and Tendi are headed to the casino planet, but the preview images suggest that they’re having a lot of fun while they’re there. At one point, the ensigns appear to be enjoying themselves at a bar while getting a little work done.
Later, Tendi appears very excited while playing a game of dom-jot against a Nausicaan.
This appears to be a reference to the sixth season TNG episode “Tapestry.” In that episode, Captain Picard played dom-jot with a group of Nausicaans and got into an altercation that ended when he was impaled.
In the image of Tendi and Mariner arriving in Freecloud (seen under the header), there’s a large neon sign for Quark’s Casino. This is, of course, a reference to Quark’s bar in “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.” Either Quark has finally moved his business off the station to a more accommodating location, or he’s started franchising. Tendi’s dom-jot game likely takes place in Quark’s Casino.
Other Reveals From the Preview Photos
Paramount+ released a few more photos that give some hints about the plot of the episode. In the image above, the U.S.S. Cerritos is seen leaving a planet that appears to have a small moon, like Earth. The view of the planet is too blurry to determine its location though. Assumably, this planet is where their Second Contact duties will take them.
Another image shows Mariner looking quite annoyed with Boimler while they’re getting some food at the replimat. Four other crew members stand behind Boimler in line. One is Jennifer the Andorian, confirming that she’ll be back in this episode. The other three officers appear to be humans. One of them wears a VISOR just like Lieutenant Geordi LaForge, indicating that she’s blind.
In one image, Chief Medical Officer T’Ana appears to be pretty upset with Tendi, though T’Ana is known for her temper. So, it doesn’t necessarily mean that Tendi has done anything wrong.
The last of the preview images shows Boimler bracing himself against a door that’s barely containing a massive explosion.
It looks like Boimler will need some serious heroics to get through this week’s episode.
“We’ll Always Have Tom Paris” looks like another action-packed, Easter egg-filled episode. Catch it on Paramount+ on August 26. And check back later this week for a full breakdown of all the Easter eggs.
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