WATCH the Preview for ‘Star Trek: Lower Decks’ Season 2, Episode 4: ‘Mugato, Gumato’

A Mugato in "Star Trek: Lower Decks"

YouTube A Mugato in "Star Trek: Lower Decks"

The fourth episode of the second season of “Star Trek: Lower Decks” drops on Thursday, September 2 at midnight Pacific Time/3 am Eastern Time. Instead of releasing preview photos as it did for the previous three episodes, Paramount+ released a teaser trailer for episode four.

Though the trailer is short, it reveals a major tie in an episode of “Star Trek: The Original Series.” Here’s a breakdown of the hints from the trailer for the next episode, entitled “Mugato, Gumato.”

The Return of the Mugato

Mugato attacks Captain Kirk2009-12-12T19:32:21Z

The teaser trailer, posted to, confirms that a TOS alien, a Mugato, will play a major role in the upcoming episode. Fans of “The Original Series,” will recognize the Mugato from the second season episode “A Private Little War.”

In that episode, Captain Kirk, Spock, and McCoy traveled to the planet Neural, a pre-warp, pre-First Contact planet. One of Kirk’s first planetary survey missions was on Neural, so he was familiar with the planet and its primitive society. However, when they beamed down to the planet, the away team was shocked to discover that the indigenous tribe was using guns instead of the rudimentary weapons Kirk had observed years ago.

Neural was also home to the Mugato, a human-sized, ape-like creature with a dangerous horn on its head and large spikes down its spine. Mugatos were known to attack humanoids, biting them with their razor-sharp fangs, which contained a fatal neurotoxin.

While on Neural, Kirk and McCoy were attacked by a Mugato. The creature managed to bite Kirk, infecting him with its deadly poison. He would have died within hours if it weren’t for a Kahn-ut-tu shaman, a member of the indigenous tribe that inhabited the planet. She treated his bite wounds with mahko root, which she mixed with her blood and Kirk’s. She also performed a ritual similar to a Vulcan mind-meld, which allowed her consciousness to connect with Kirk’s. This ritual, along with the mahko root, completely extracted the poison and healed Kirk’s wounds.

The Easter Egg in the Title

MUGATO: Trek BestiaryThis first video looks into the Mugato of Neural III, as seen in Star Trek: TOS. Its physical strength and spiky appearance belay its true danger, the venomous bite. Some aliens in Star Trek are so interesting to look at but they unfortunately don't fit into the category of an intelligent species, or one that…2020-08-16T18:30:04Z

The title of the episode, “Mugato, Gumato” is a clever play on the phrase “you say tomato, I say tomato,” and references an interesting bit of behind-the-scenes trivia. According to “These Are The Voyages — TOS: Season Two,” the original script for the episode called the creature a “Gumato,” not a “Mugato.” The authors claim that actor DeForest Kelley had trouble pronouncing the word Gumato, so the name was changed for the final version of the script. However, the name was not changed in the final credits of the episode. The actor who played the creature is credited with playing the “Gumato.”

The name change didn’t really clear up the pronunciation issues though. Throughout the episode, both Kelley and William Shatner, aka Captain Kirk, pronounced Mugato as “Mugatu.” Some Trek reference books, like “The Star Trek Compendium,” refer to the creature as the Mugatu instead of Mugato because of this mispronunciation.

The Cerritos Tracks Down a Mugato

A Mugato in "Star Trek: Lower Decks"

YouTubeA Mugato in “Star Trek: Lower Decks”

Fans who watched the first teaser trailer for “Lower Decks” probably caught the seconds-long clip of a roaring Mugato. However, the Mugato wasn’t referenced in any of the other trailers. So, its presence in the second season was a mystery, until the episode trailer dropped.

The trailer revealed that the crew of the Cerritos will be sent on a mission to track down a Mugato on the loose. The 16-second trailer didn’t give away many more details. However, it did confirm that the “Lower Decks” ensigns will join Lieutenant Shaxs on an away mission to find the Mugato. The only other detail divulged was one fans might be happier not knowing: tracking Mugatos apparently involves tasting their dung, which is “tangy,” for freshness.

“Mugato, Gumato” will be available on Paramount+ at midnight Pacific Time/3 am Eastern Time on September 2. Check back after the episode drops for a full breakdown of all the Easter eggs.

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