With a title like, “Kayshon, His Eyes Open,” I should have known that I’d be in for a wild ride with this week’s episode of Lower Decks. From the cold open that set the tone for the episode to a story full of deep-cut references, episode 2×02 of Star Trek: Lower Decks proves that it’s more than just a comedy within the Star Trek universe. Lower Decks truly belongs within the Star Trek canon. Here are a few of my thoughts on episode 2×02, “Kayshon, His Eyes Open.”
While cold opens are often there just for laughs, thus far the cold open scenes in season 2 of Lower Decks have really helped to establish the theme or plotline of the episode. The standoff between Jet (portrayed by Marcus Henderson of Get Out) and Mariner in the sonic shower is hilarious, but also establishes their rivalry and desire for dominance. This is such a neat way to establish the main plot thread, fitting perfectly with the humor in Lower Decks.
Rapunki, When He Joined the Seven!
Having the first Tamarian in Starfleet join the crew of the Cerritos is a big deal here. We first meet Tamarians in the fan-favorite Star Trek: The Next Generation episode, “Darmok,” and the famous lines have become a meme in their own right. (There’s a whole theory about the comparison of meme culture and the Tamarians). The Children of Tama or Tamarians speak only in metaphor and watching the new security officer, Kayshon, speak Federation standard with a splash of Tamarian metaphor is quite enjoyable. I’m looking forward to seeing more races from other Trek stories integrate within the Lower Decks canon.
Deep-Cut Star Trek Trivia
There are so many little Easter eggs sprinkled throughout the episode. Setting the episode in a collector’s museum seems like the perfect excuse to put little nods to other things within Trek lore in the background. Here are a few things I picked up. I know there’s no way I caught everything, so tell me what you spotted in the comments!
- The giant skeleton is the giant Spock from the episode, “The Infinite Vulcan” of Star Trek: The Animated Series.
- Riker doing his trademark lean.
- References to the collectors trying to collect Data refer to Star Trek: The Next Generation episode, “The Most Toys.”
- One of the pieces behind the glass in the episode is a Star Trek: The Original Series uniform dress. There’s no label to signify to whom it belonged, but it is the same dress worn by Lt. Uhura.
- Boimler getting a transporter clone a la Riker in episode 6×24 of Star Trek: The Next Generation, “Second Chances” cracked me up, especially when the clone chose the name, Thomas, as did Riker’s clone.
One of the things I enjoy the most about this episode is that the writers are still leaning into the idea of “We’re not supposed to have interpersonal conflict,” which is mentioned in 2×01, “Strange Energies.” And yet, here we are with another story that is guided by the interpersonal conflict between Mariner and Jet. The resolution isn’t that one person needs to be a leader; they must be a team, allowing less assertive members, like Tendi and Rutherford to voice their opinion and use their skills. That’s a lesson for all of us.
Boimler’s speech about why he joined Starfleet is also quite poignant. It embodies two camps of Trek fandom–one camp that’s here for the action and adventure, and the other that’s here to see strange new worlds, new life, and new civilizations. Both are forms of “Boldly go!” and both are valid. Lower Decks seems to have both. I personally enjoy both, but it was really nice to see the latter camp get a little bit of validation. Hearing him say, “I didn’t join Starfleet to get in phaser fights. I signed up to explore, to be out in space making new discoveries and peaceful diplomatic solutions,” is refreshing.
I’m also quite glad to see the original Boimler return to the Cerritos. It’s clear he was missed, but now I’m curious to see how Jet will fit into all of this. He got the shaft in the final scenes of the episode and appears hurt by this. I anticipate this becoming a conflict later in the season.
What did you think about “Kayshon, His Eyes Open”? Leave me a comment and let’s talk Trek.
The next episode of Star Trek: Lower Decks premieres on August 26, 2021 on Paramount+.