Warp Factor Trek

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Following on from “that Pike thing we aren’t supposed to talk about,” the crew of the USS Cerritos is back in fully animated form, for a fourth season of craziness. We open with a double-bill of the first two episodes, starting with “Twovix”, and it doesn’t take long to confirm that the show is indeed riffing on the Star Trek: Voyager episode “Tuvix” — and many of Voyager‘s tropes…


The USS Cerritos is on a secret, totally redacted mission to a mysterious space station, and everyone’s hoping it doesn’t involve the Romulan Neutral Zone. Meanwhile, Ransom promises Boimler that he won’t be on holodeck sewage duty for long, as promotions are coming up and he’d have to screw up to a historically significant degree to not get promoted. In fact, the Cerritos crew are to transport the USS Voyager to Earth as a pristine museum piece, as well as carrying crates of related artifacts.

Voyager at the space station

The curator is permanently on edge about being sure that the likes of mission-worn uniforms are undamaged and people aren’t opening panels in search of Neelix cheese or chewing gum on the ship… He’s more lax about the artifacts transported to the Cerritos, however, which include a leaf of the orchid that caused the merging of Tuvok and Neelix to create Tuvix. The leaf similarly gets to the Cerritos’ transporter room and causes a merging of Billups and Doctor T’Ana into T’Illups.

Meanwhile, aboard Voyager, Mariner accidentally releases a dormant macrovirus. It attacks Boimler and starts self-replicating. The macroviruses escape the bridge and cause a bunch of holograms to come to life, including Doctor Chaotica, The Clown from “The Thaw”, and the Irish bloke from “Fair Haven”, even though — as Mariner points out — The Clown originally wasn’t a hologram. Before long, a Borg regeneration alcove falls on the curator.

A diagram about Tuvix

Everybody on the Cerritos knows how Janeway sorted out Tuvix – “She just murdered him!” Those who investigate the incident include T’Illups, who decides to forestall the same eventuality.

On Voyager, a Borg nanite escapes, having merged with the macrovirus to create a macro-nanite. It causes the three aforementioned holograms to multiply all over the ship. T’Illups uses another leaf to merge Captain Freeman with Doctor Migleemo, the first of many deliberate mergings.

As the holograms start to take over Voyager, Mariner is slimed to a wall. Boimler admits to her that he’s afraid promotion would separate them, but she reveals that she told Ransom to promote him.

The anxious Boimler talks with the slimed Mariner

Tendi and new Vulcan Lower Decker T’Lyn try to separate out the merged people aboard the Cerritos. However, they only succeed in re-merging everyone into a single giant blob.

The holograms aboard Voyager send their ship towards a Borg cube. Boimler then enlists Rutherford’s help to break Voyager in order to shut down the holograms.

On the Cerritos, Tendi realises the newest scanners can pick up personality traits. She is thereby able to identify the crew members in the blob and separate them.

T’Lyn and Tendi consider how to untangle the massive blob

Quarreling with Doctor Chaotica, Boimler claims to be Captain Proton’s son. Rutherford then manages to shut Voyager down before they can reach Borg space, revealing that he used Neelix’s cheese to affect the vessel’s bioneural gel packs.

With all sorted, everybody except Rutherford is promoted out of having to sleep in corridor bunks — including Mariner, who is desperate to not be promoted. Later, they celebrate with a chant of no more surprise dangers.

A Klingon Bird-of-Prey and a mysterious spacecraft

We then join the crew of a Klingon Bird-of-Prey, who encounter a small ship with a single lifeform aboard. The ship has a powerful beam that carves up the Klingon vessel, leaving only small pieces and a new arc for the show…


As the title and plot straight-out tell us, this is a reflection and play on the morality of “Tuvix” to an extent that feels as though the Cerritos crew are living in the rec.arts Voyager group from the late ’90s, where the discussions on that episode were a huge thing. (Few people ever pointed out that not murdering Tuvix would have meant murdering by inaction both Tuvok and Neelix, and this isn’t brought up here either.)

More than that, though, it’s a supremely nostalgic homage to Star Trek: Voyager, and Mike McMahan knows how to hook his chosen target of fans with perfect accuracy and mood. If you watched Voyager, you are probably going to get a kick out of this. There are many easter eggs, as usual, but also a greater-than-average number of straight-up plot riffs from multiple episodes, and a tone of snarky commentary that the earlier show’s fans will likely be thinking at all the appropriate moments.

The grand opening of the Voyager exhibit at Starfleet Command

As is often the case, there are also good digs at fans and collectors, while the arcs the characters have been on over the previous three years are really paying off. There are fun moments everywhere, but also several good character pieces that are deeper and more subtle, where Boimler in particular is concerned. T’Illups is quite amusing too, with only the museum curator coming off as a kind of bland Futurama-type caricature.

The music is excellent, with great use of the Voyager theme. Several of the incidental tracks really capture the style of that show’s incidental scores, to the point of uncertainty as to whether they’re new or arrangements from Voyager episodes. (They’re new, just great pastiches.)

So, we have solid in-your-face nostalgia and pastiche; great lines, great music, new additions to the title sequence’s space battle, and a set of questions to answer: Who attacked the Klingon ship? What about Rutherford’s (lack of) promotion? Will Mariner or Boimler talk more about “that Pike thing”?

Rating: 5/5

This is the best Lower Decks season opener so far. It’s going to be a blast finding out the answers to the questions it leaves us to ponder.

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