Lower decks directly address one of Starfleet’s biggest blind spots

“Lower Decks” has already established its captain and crew’s primary mission as “second contact,” which both mocks the franchise’s age-old tradition of first contact scenarios while adding a bit of practicality to the world. of “Trek” – after all, exploration can’t always be glamorous and headline-grabbing. Someone has to do the heavy lifting of tracking historic encounters with all-new extraterrestrial beings.

In a similar vein, episode seven expanded on this idea by moving forward with Captain Carol Freeman’s (Dawnn Lewis) “swing-by” initiative. The gist involves a spacecraft like the USS Cerritos returning to a planet the Federation has already made contact with and offering further assistance in any way possible. In this case, the crew revisits the planet Ornara, a world Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) experienced in an episode of “The Next Generation.” After traveling to other parts of the universe again and leaving the planet to fend for itself, Picard’s actions eventually necessitated the new Cerritos follow-up mission 17 years later.

The implementation of this small pet project doesn’t quite go as planned, as Ornara seems to have thrived in the years since Starfleet’s intervention. But their planetary neighbor, Brekka, finally proves the wisdom of the move when the “Lower Decks” crew stumble upon an occupying force of the villainous Breen – a development they never would have discovered if the Federation hadn’t. do a half turn.

The episode primarily uses this mission as a way to further explore the mother/daughter relationship between the Captain and Ensign Beckett Mariner (Tawny Newsome), but in the process it finally addresses a long-standing (and quite fun) in Starfleet MO.