Morgan Bateson is Starfleet’s most underrated captain

The following contains spoilers for Star Trek: Lower Decks Season 3, Episode 1, “Grounded,” now streaming on Paramount+.

Starfleet’s most underrated captain is back. Viewers got their first and, so far, last glimpse of Captain Morgan Bateson when Captain Jean Luc Picard of the USS Enterprise was about to deliver some bad news to him. Nevertheless, he does not sulk his misfortune. In fact, he helped save the day in the Season 3 premiere of Star Trek: Lower Decks with some special forces type maneuvers. Captain Bateson is a badass operator and fearless leader who played a key role in the star trek universe behind the scenes.

For a man who is nearly a century beyond the world he once knew, Captain Bateson has adapted extremely well. Although he hasn’t been seen in action since his screen debut, Bateson’s presence has been felt on several occasions. His exploits include fighting the Borg and exposing a plot by Pakled. In the non-canonical universe, he even commanded the Enterprise at one point. Bateson’s story isn’t getting enough attention and it’s probably not finished. More adventures await, perhaps in a very unexpected place.

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Captain Morgan Bateson was commanding the USS Bozeman in 2278 when he entered a time warp while in the Typhoon Expanse (Star Trek: The Next Generation Season 5, Episode 18, “Cause and Effect”). The USS Enterprise-D collided with the Bozeman, destroying the ship and disrupting the space-time continuum. Eventually, the Enterprise crew was able to escape the time loop they were in by avoiding the collision. After learning that his ship had been stuck in a time-causal loop for over 17 days, Captain Picard answered the Bozeman’s call. Always the dedicated officer, Bateson (played by Kelsey Grammer of Cheers and fraser fame) asked if he could help the Enterprise, not yet knowing the situation. Picard invited Bateson to teleport to the Enterprise, where he is to inform him that he and his crew had been transported 90 years into the future.

Bateson’s story could have ended there as a footnote to a classic GNT episode. However, he didn’t take the news down. The Bozeman was mentioned in Star Trek: Generations, and a computer screen present during the conversation indicated that Bateson was the captain. The Bozeman (probably the new Bozeman-A) also participated in the Battle of Sector 001 depicted in Star Trek: First Contact, where Federation starships repelled an attempt by a Borg Cube to assimilate Earth. During the fight, a voice resembling Bateson’s is heard in a monitored transmission acknowledging an order for the Bozeman to fall back. According to the novel line ship, Bateson oversaw the construction of the Enterprise-E and commanded her during her shakedown cruise. In the Star Trek: Fate novel, lost soulsBateson played a vital role in thwarting a Borg invasion of Vulcan as commanding officer of the USS Atlas.

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The final chapter of Captain Bateson’s unlikely journey takes place on Star Trek: Lower Decks Season 3, Episode 1, “Grounded”. The episode picks up from the cliffhanger in the Season 2 finale. Bateson leads an elite team investigating the Pakled Planet bombing that has been pinned on Captain Carol Freeman of the USS Cerritos. Bateson’s team discovers that the Pakleds staged the explosion and framed Freeman so the Federation would be forced to relocate the Pakleds to a more resource-rich planet. Beyond simply acclimating to his new era, Bateson has become one of Starfleet’s finest officers, trusted by the Federation to take on challenging and challenging assignments.

There’s probably more in store for the fearless officer. Of course, other adventures on Lower decks could be possible, but it could also come in a less expected setting. Bateson is said to have graduated from Starfleet Academy around the year 2260. Much of the action in the first season of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds occurs in the year 2259. Therefore, it is entirely conceivable that a young Bateson could encounter the crew of Captain Christopher Pike’s Enterprise as soon as he is a cadet or junior officer. Morgan Bateson not only persevered, but thrived despite finding himself in an almost impossible situation. Hopefully fans will see more of it down the line.

Star Trek: Lower Decks Season 3 launches new episodes every Thursday on Paramount+.